If ever there was a reason for the FCN to exist, this is it…
For those of you who have followed the FCN for a while now, you may be familiar with the name Shannon Miller. Shannon is one of the World’s most successful coaches. (not successful female coach, but coach. Period). Born in Canada in 1963, Shannon became one of the most decorated ice-hockey coaches since becoming a player-coach during her own University days. In 1999, she took on the role as Head Coach at the Minnesota–Duluth Bulldogs women’s ice hockey team and went on to have an incredible 16 years, becoming the only Head Ice-Hockey Coach in the USA to have been honoured at the White House by the President of the United States 5 times!
During her 16 years at UMD, she had a winning percentage of .707, won 4 regular season Conference Titles, 5 Conference Tournament Championships, 10 NCAA National Tournament berths, 7 Frozen Four Appearances and 5 National Championships.
Outside of her collegiate coaching record; she was the first female coach to lead her country to the Winter Olympics coming home with a Silver Medal from the 1998 Nagano Games, she lead her country to a number of World Championship Titles, having been a National Team Coach 7 times, served as a mentor to the Russian National Team at the 2014 Winter Olympics and has a Masters degree to her name.
I think you will agree, Shannon has a coaching CV that most could only dream of!
However, behind the scenes at UMD Shannon battled with discrimination and injustice. Rather than being celebrated and rewarded for her success, she experienced a number of sexist and homophobic incidents as well as being treated ‘significantly less favourably’ than her male counterpart at UMD. Not only was Shannon paid some what less on her basic wage, have no supplemental retirement contribution and no bonus opportunities, unlike the male Head Coach, Shannon dealt with regular homophobic, racist and xenophobic comments from male colleagues.
Words and phrases such as ‘dyke’, ‘f***ing bitch’ and “go home” were just a few examples. whilst the lack of respect shown to the women’s ice-hockey programme was highlighted when a particular male colleague said “f***ing women suck all the money out of the athletic department – what a waste of money”.
Coming to a head in 2015, Shannon was told by UMD that her contract would no longer be renewed and that she would have to leave her job, due to a department budget cut. However, the men’s Head Coach and the entire men’s ice-hockey programme remained un-touched by the cuts and after some initial investigating, it appeared that Shannon was not the only female coach at the University being discriminated against in this way. Jennifer Banford (softball coach) and Annette Wiles (basketball coach) had also been suffering and agreed to join Shannon in filing a law suit against the University of Minnesota–Duluth.
Shannon Miller, Jennifer Banford and Annette Wiles, are about to shake up the USA Collegiate sports system like never before and bring to light the evidence behind the torment, discrimination and injustice they had been dealing with at UMD. They are not only fighting for their own rights of being treated equally as female coaches and gay women, but they are fighting for the rights of future generations of all women in sport, ensuring that whilst Title IX exists, it is being adhered to correctly in colleges across the Country.
As part of this fight, the FCN have offered their full support and in the lead up to the Court Case later this year (2017), we will be revealing exclusive evidence, facts and interviews with the female coaches involved.
We can also announce that we have EXCLUSIVELY OBTAINED the ‘Expert Report’ written for all involved which interprets the law and all the evidence, please see the image below to download.
The report, written by a former NCAA coach and athletics director Donna Lopiano PH.D outlines point by point, the accusations and questions involved in the law suit. This report will be presented at the trial and Donna will be be cross examined by the opponents lawyers.
This report reveals the disgusting behaviour of UMD in their treatment of all three coaches and lays out facts, figures and evidence of the accusations involved.
Over the coming weeks, we will be releasing a summary of each of the 8 points of evidence made in the document, publishing the full 124 page document for you to read and share with you our exclusive interviews of the women involved.
Our aim in doing this is to raise awareness of such scandalous behaviour towards female coaches and to inspire other coaches or athletes out there that have or are dealing with with similar treatment to come forward.
Please spread the word… #SupportShannon