Fired as Bowling Green (Ky.) High School’s girls basketball coach Thursday, LaVonda Johnson wrote in a statement that she plans to take legal action after being told school officials “wanted more white coaches and white players” on the team.
Johnson posted a 254-56 record over 10 seasons and led the Purples to a quartet of Fourth Region championships. Her 2010-11 squad finished 25-2 and posted the program’s first-ever victory in the state tournament.
Johnson wrote that her assistant coaches were fired after the 2015-16 season.
“During a meeting to discuss that decision, we were told by Principal William King that he wanted the coaching staff and team to ‘reflect the diversity of the school,’” wrote Johnson, who is African-American. “When asked whether that meant he wanted more white coaches and white players, he responded, ‘Yes.’ Needless to say, we were shocked and offended by this statement.”
Johnson wrote that she has filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education and the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.
“The district has steadfastly refused to talk to us,” Johnson wrote. “Given the district’s position, we appear to be left with no alternative but to pursue our rights in court.”
Johnson referred all questions to her attorney, Jeff Walther. He could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.
Gary Fields, superintendent for the Bowling Green Independent School District, said he was not involved with the meeting Johnson described but stands behind King.
“Mr. King does an outstanding job for all students at Bowling Green High School and all student-athletes,” Fields said. “Every decision he makes, he puts them first. He has 100 percent of my support as the leader at Bowling Green High School.”
Johnson, a former All-State guard at Warren East High School who went on to play at Western Kentucky University, coached two seasons at Glasgow (2005-07) before taking the job at Bowling Green.