James Finely has been the women’s volleyball coach for Virginia Commonwealth University for the last eight years. After closing out the last season with a perfect graduation score and 25 wins to 6 losses, it looked like he was going to continue on for a ninth year. That was until he was fired for being gay, Finely says.
Talking about athletic director Ed McLaughlin, Finely describes red flags that lead up to his firing.
“From the beginning he interacted with other coaches, staffs, other teams. He participated [with them], and with ours he didn’t… At booster events, he avoided me whenever I was there. [I'd be] having a conversation with him and he’d walk away when I was trying to talk to him. I’d say ‘Hi’ and he’d look up at me, and put his head back down and not acknowledge me.”
Finley didn’t think much of the issue as the season passed, but on Oct. 5th, when Pat Stauffer, a 30-year-veteran of VCU athletics and an open lesbian, was demoted from Senior Women’s Administrator to Sr. Associate AD for Sports Administration. It was too much for Finley, it was another red flag.
“If one things happens, OK, it happens; but if it happens a second time, it’s a pattern,” said Finley when he connected the dots. The lack of interaction all season and the circumstances of his dismissal became suspect. – GayRVA
The school is investigating Finely’s dismissal, and would not comment except to say the school is committed to diversity and “The employment action — non renewal of the contract — was taken in compliance with appropriate VCU employment practices and policies.”
Finely is also keeping very level headed about the whole ordeal, and believes he will get his job back, saying “I have a lot of confidence in Dr. Rao and the university to enforce the anti-discrimination policy in this situation.”