James Finley, the head Virginia
Commonwealth University (VCU) women's volleyball coach, claims he was
fired for being gay.
Finley told Richmond NBC affiliate WWBT
that he was suddenly let go by the school's new athletic director, Ed
“We sat down and he was just very
short and simply said, 'We want to go in a new direction. We're not
going to renew your contract. Thanks for your time,'” Finley
Finley said he was shocked because his
team had a great season and his players were thriving academically.
“We were 25-6 this year. We moved
into a new conference. We were picked to finish 6th and
we finished 3rd. We made it to the semi-finals of the A10
Championship. We had a great season. It was the highest winning
percentage that we've had with the volleyball program at VCU.”
“It's just unheard of for someone to
have a winning record and just get let go,” he said.
Finley said he concluded that the
decision was rooted in his sexual orientation. He noted that
McLaughlin had avoided speaking to him since his arrival.
“I would say hi to him and he
wouldn't respond,” Finley said.
“Ultimately, I came to this decision
that I had to stand up, because you know we have a lot of gay and
lesbian student athletes,” said Finley. “I can't let them down.
They have depended on me to have a safe voice and a safe place to be.
We should be judged on the job we do. We shouldn't be judged on who
Finley said a division of the
university meant to support diversity has launched an investigation.
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