A former girls basketball coach at a Florida high school has filed a lawsuit against the school board that formerly employed her, citing racial and gender discrimination.
As reported by Florida ABC affiliate WJCB, former Buchholz girls basketball coach Rebecca Williams filed a lawsuit against the Alachua School Board in Alachua County Court seeking unspecified damages related to her firing in fall 2016, when she claims she was not given any direct reason for her dismissal.
Critically, Williams’ suit notes that she was the only black female coach at Buchholz during her tenure there. When she was let go by former principal Mike Delucas, and former athletic director Jay Godwin, no specific reason was cited. However, as noted by WCJB, the program had been forced to forfeit its entire schedule after a player on the Buchholz team was found to be playing for the team while using a different student’s name.
At the time, Gainesville.com noted that procedurally she was essentially boxed out of any ability to coach her team or with regular students after findings from the state Department of Education were disclosed.
Her case was sent to the state Department of Education, where officials reviewed it and decided Williams should not interact with students, inherently disqualifying her from her position.
Williams’ claim asks for damages related to both lost wages mental anguish, with Delucas, Godwin and a pair of school board members — Gunnar Paulson and Will Calsam — named as defendants.
While Williams left the school in rather ignominious circumstances, her tenure wasn’t without success; she led Buchholz to three consecutive state tournaments between 2011 and 2013 and the Class 7A state title in 2013.