RICHMOND, VA—The head coach of Virginia Commonwealth University Women's Volleyball team is gay—and says he believes that's the reason his university contract wasn't renewed.
James Finley, the head coach of VCU Women's Volleyball team, has been with the team for eight season, and during that time, he says the team has performed well, and says he believes his contract wasn't renewed because of his sexual orientation.
Now, members of the community are coming together, supporting Finley and calling for answers.
A meeting was Thursday afternoon, addressing concerns associated with Virginia Commonwealth University's commitment to diversity in the Department of Athletics, and within the university.
The meeting was held at 12 p.m. at The Commons Theater Room on campus.
VCU's new athletic director Ed McLaughlin told Finley his contract wouldn't be renewed last week, in their first-ever official meeting. Finley was baffled and confused.
"We sat down and coach immediately he said ‘Coach, we are not renewing your contract. We want to go in a new direction. You won't be employed as of December 31st. Thanks for your time.'"
Finely feels his eight years at VCU came to an abrupt end, all because he is gay.
"I am not being judged by my performance," Finely said, "I am being judged just because I don't fit into the box the athletic director wants."
Although Finely recalls several instances where McLaughlin went out of his way to avoid him, he says he didn't feel direct discrimination until players on his team told him what McLaughlin said.
"He said we want someone who can represent the university well. And that just stabbed me in the heart. It's because he doesn't want a gay man," stated Finley.
A statement from Ed McLaughlin refutes the claims. "I came to VCU because of how the university embraces diversity, and it's unfortunate MR. Finely feels the decision not to renew his contract was based on anything other than previously stated concerns. And that the volleyball program needs new leadership."
VCU is investigating the situation…stay with 8News for updates.
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