The athletic department coaches who still collect a paycheck at the University of Minnesota Duluth have broken a long silence after nearly a year of controversy surrounding athletic director Josh Berlo, who removed several high-profile female coaches from the ranks.
Three of the former coaches sued the university this week, contending that they were fired because they’re female and gay.
The lawsuit also alleges that the university unlawfully retaliated against the women for reporting they were harassed by co-workers. And they claim retaliation for advocating for equal funding for women’s sports, MPR News’ Dan Kraker reported this week.
In a letter to the Duluth News Tribune today, however, the current coaches reject the assertions:
We the head coaches of all 16 University of Minnesota Duluth athletic programs write to address what it is like to work at UMD in the Athletic Department. We chose to work and continue to stay at UMD because, universally, we want to be at an institution that reflects what we know to be important and true.
We support the mission of the UMD Athletic Department. We overwhelmingly and without reservation fully support the leadership provided by Athletic Director Josh Berlo. We are proud to be the head coaches of Bulldogs athletics.
The University and Athletic Department culture and environment are both professionally and personally rewarding, committed to equity, healthy and supportive with regard to co-workers, supervisors, and overall leadership.
Our focus is on the well-being of our student athletes.
Because the UMD Athletic Department supports us, we are able to be focused on enabling all student athletes the opportunity to excel in the classroom, community and in competition.
We are fortunate to call ourselves Bulldogs.
Head women’s volleyball coach
Head men’s basketball coach
Head women’s soccer coach and acting head women’s tennis coach
Head women’s hockey coach
Head men’s cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field coach
Head women’s basketball coach
Head baseball coach
Head men’s hockey coach
Head football coach
Head softball coach
Head women’s cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field coach