U. of Texas Settles with Former Track Coach for $600K

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Bev Kearney, the highly successful University of Texas women's track coach who was forced out in 2013 over a personal relationship, will receive $600,000 to settle her race and gender discrimination lawsuit against the school, according to records obtained by the Austin American-Statesman.

Kearney, who is black, argued that her termination — resulting from the revelation that the coach had had an inappropriate long-term relationship with one of her student-athletes a decade earlier — represented harsher punishment than that received by Major Applewhite, a white former assistant football coach who was ordered to undergo counseling after a brief consensual relationship with a student trainer during a bowl game trip following the 2008 season.

Only the second black head coach in UT history when she was hired in 1993, Kearney had been recommended for a $150,000 raise in fall 2012. By then she had won six NCAA titles and national coach of the year honors five times. She originally sought damages approaching $4 million, including the value of a new contract she had not yet signed.

In the end, Kearney gets $277,452.10 of the settlement amount, while the Jody R. Mask PLLC law firm gets $322,547.90.

UT reportedly spent more than $500,000 in its years-long attempt to quash the lawsuit, with vice president for legal affairs Patti Ohlendorf calling Kearney’s discrimination allegations “unfounded” and her relationship with the athlete “a serious lack of judgment.” The Texas Supreme Court ultimately allowed the case to proceed in 2017, resulting in depositions by former UT president Bill Powers, former athletic director DeLoss Dodds, former football coach Mack Brown and university officials who investigate allegations of sexual misconduct. Those depositions remain sealed.

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