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Fired USC Coach Claims Age Discrimination, Seeks $2M

Paul Steinbach

Former University of Southern California women's volleyball coach Mick Haley is seeking millions of dollars from the university, claiming it forced him to retire.

Haley's attorney, Chris Ludmer, said in a press release announcing the arbitration claim that USC violated California law when it "embarked on a campaign to harass Haley and force him to 'retire' because of his age." Haley, who turns 75 next month, was fired in December with months left on his contract. He led the program to a 435-119 record over 17 seasons and led the 2002 and 2003 Trojans to national championships.

In 2017, USC went 22-9 and reached the NCAA regional finals, but the university began to criticize Haley, according to Ludmer, referring to Haley as in his "twighlight years," "old" and "archaic." Ludmer also alleges that USC officials made attempts to limit the volleyball team's roster, interfere with his coaching and provide inadequate support of the program.

Donna Heinel, USC's senior woman administrator, is named in the claim, which was filed Wednesday with the American Arbitration Association. In a statement yesterday, USC said, "We are aware that Mick Haley filed a demand for arbitration today and we are reviewing it."   

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