Another Coach Sues Fresno State

February 26, 2009 11:36:43 PM PST
Eight months after a jury awarded former Fresno State women's basketball coach Stacy Johnson-Klein an astounding $19-million dollars in her gender discrimination lawsuit against the university another suit is filed. This time by Ramona Pagel, a 4-time Olympian and current U.S. shot put record holder.The suit claims her contract as assistant track and field coach was not renewed because she raised concerns about gender equity. Former Fresno State volleyball coach Lindy Vivas won a $5 million dollar discrimination lawsuit against the school for allegations similar to Pagel's and Dianne Milutinovich settled her gender discrimination lawsuit for 3 and a half million dollars. Despite the $16 million shelled out in these cases, Vivas said nothing has changed at the athletic department. "I'm not surprised at all. The people in charge didn't change. You know when it comes down to it the responsibility is always at the top and the top failed all of us."

Pagel's attorney, Warren Paboojian told Action News his client is not jumping on the multi-million dollar lawsuit bandwagon against Fresno State. He said the school violated its own policy of hiring from within when passing Pagel over for the head coaching job. He said then she wasn't even granted an in-person interview for her old job. Paboojian added its more proof of the disturbing trend of gender discrimination in the Fresno State Athletics Department.

Track and field athlete Brooke Pighin transferred from Louisiana to Fresno State just to be coached by Pagel and when Pagel got fired she left too. Pighin said, "The fact that she didn't get the head coach position, which she is overqualified for, surprised me most. I knew that she hadn't got her position back and I knew that it wasn't in my best interest as an athlete to stay in a program and see it start to fall apart now is horrifying."

Action News called Fresno State for a comment on the lawsuit and were provided with this statement, "She was an unsuccessful candidate for positions of head track coach and assistant track coach. We cannot comment on any pending litigation."

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