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Winters fighting for her USF job

The former basketball coach, fired amid racial controversies, has petitioned the courts for her job.

By ANTONYA ENGLISH

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 3, 2001


TAMPA -- Four months after she was fired for retaliating against a former player, Jerry Ann Winters is fighting back.

The former South Florida women's basketball coach has asked an administrative law judge to determine if USF had just cause when she was fired in December.

Winters, 52, filed a petition in February against the Board of Regents and USF, asking that the decision to terminate her employment be reviewed. Winters is now a real estate agent with Century 21, Shaw Realty Group.

Winter's attorney, Robert F. McKee, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. John W. Campbell, the attorney representing USF, did not return phone calls to his office.

The administrative proceeding is a standard due process review for any employee of a governmental agency. As coach at USF, Winters was employed by the state and Board of Regents.

The case is in the hands of Judge William F. Quattlebaum, who oversaw a hearing April 23-25 and is expected to render a decision within six weeks.

Winters, who was to begin her 25th season of coaching, was the center of a bitter racial discrimination controversy for nearly five months before she was fired.

She was suspended with pay in October after a university investigation concluded she dismissed player Dione Smith in retaliation for participating in a 1999 internal review of racial discrimination claims against the coach.

Last November, Winters appealed the decision rendered by the university's Equal Opportunity Affairs office. A month later, her appeal was denied and she was fired immediately by then-USF athletic director Paul Griffin.

Since August, eight former players have filed federal racial discrimination lawsuits against the university and Winters. In March, Griffin was forced to resign.

Recent coverage

Attorneys tangle in USF players' bias suit (April 6, 2001)

Some say scandal hurts trust in USF (March 22, 2001)

USF's Griffin forced to quit (March 10, 2001)

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