Two married lesbian women’s volleyball coaches, Bonnie Kenny and Cindy Gregory, won a first-round court battle after they sued the University of Delaware for discrimination. The judge found that they “sufficiently demonstrated” that they were discriminated against because of their age, sexual orientation, and marital status. Bonnie Kenny was “terminated without cause” last October. She sued because she believes this termination was directly related to her age and sexuality. Kenny had served 15 seasons as a coach before she was fired. Her wife and associate head coach, Gregory, was fired as well.
After Kenny filed discrimination charges in February, the university stated that the recent losing seasons of her team, the Blue Hens, was the cause for Kenny and Gregory’s terminations. However, according to the suit, that was not a given reason, and the University forced them to resign under duress.
Delaware had a 253-199 record under Kenny—a winning record, but nothing impressive, according to the standard the Blue Hens have not qualified for the NCAA tournament since 2011.
Kenny and Gregory have also been accused of fostering a manipulative and abusive environment. According to Volley Mob “you were likely to come out crying” and that the coaches used “psychological warfare.” These claims have not been verified.
Despite the judge ruling in favor of the two coaches, U.S. District Judge Richard G. Andrews ruled on Delaware’s behalf. He granted a motion to dismiss Kenny and Gregory’s allegations that a violation of due process occurred. This was ruled because Kenny was still being paid through the conclusion of her contract, but Gregory did not have the same protection in her contract.
So what’s next? The evidence gathering stage will likely last up to 8 months, and then a trial will likely occur. Then, it can be looked into more closely and accurately if the two were discriminated against, leading to their firing.
Kenny is the fourth gay female coach over the age of 50 that the university has “forced out” along with field hockey coach Carol Miller, softball coach B.J Ferguson, and basketball coach Tina Martin.
We will continue to follow this story.