A Baton Rouge federal judge has dismissed a racial discrimination lawsuit that former longtime LSU women’s tennis coach Tony Minnis filed against the university after his 2012 firing.
Minnis’ attorney, Jill Craft, said Wednesday that Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson’s ruling will be appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
“We’re obviously disappointed, but we have every intention to appeal it,” Craft said of the judge’s decision issued Tuesday. “He’s still confident in his case and confident that justice will eventually be served.”
Minnis, who is black, joined LSU in 1992 and was fired in 2012 after compiling an overall record of 285-234 and a Southeastern Conference mark of 86-144. He led the Lady Tigers to the NCAA Tournament 15 times.
“In a profession created around competitive success, Minnis had a lackluster record,” Jackson wrote in his ruling.
LSU finished 11-13 in 2012, the third consecutive losing season for the women’s tennis team.
Minnis alleged in his suit that he was subjected to “unwelcome race-based harassment and discrimination” throughout his employment at LSU.
Jackson, however, said Minnis presented no direct evidence of discrimination.
LSU always denied Minnis’ allegations.
Minnis also contended that white coaches were paid up to $30,000 more than him, but Jackson said Minnis conceded that men’s tennis coaches generally make more than women’s tennis coaches nationally.
LSU announced May 16, 2012, that Minnis’ contract would not be renewed. The announcement came less than a week after the Lady Tigers lost their first-round match in the NCAA Tournament.
Craft said Minnis, who is not currently coaching, is doing some work for the Tennis Channel.
Minnis was replaced by Julia Sell, who came to LSU from the United States Tennis Association, where she had served as the national coach of the regional training center in south Florida since August 2011. Prior to that, Sell, who is white, was an assistant coach at Notre Dame for three years.
Minnis’ suit originally was filed in Baton Rouge state court but was moved to federal court.