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Remember Stacy Johnson-Klein? She’s back in coaching — and far from Fresno State (USA)

Stacy Johnson-Klein – the former Fresno State women’s basketball coach who was at the center of a gender equity/drug abuse firestorm a little over a decade ago – is back in an official coaching capacity.

Johnson-Klein hadn’t coached full time since she was fired by Fresno State in the middle of the 2004-05 season, which set up her well-publicized gender discrimination lawsuit that cost the university millions.

But 11 years since Johnson-Klein was awarded $19.1 million by a jury as part of her lawsuit against Fresno State (a judge on appeal reduced her award to $9 million), she can call herself a coach again.

Johnson-Klein has agreed to coach the Lawton High girls basketball team in her home state of Oklahoma, according to The Oklahoman. She awaits the school board’s approval next month.

“I think I can be a big help,” Johnson-Klein told The Oklahoman. “They seem to think so. I know this: I’ve got to get back in that gym and do what I do and offer young women and men what I was given, which was the chance to play basketball or any sport or trade to gain an education.

“I kind of lose my mind without that.”

Johnson-Klein, 48, has coached as a volunteer for two AAU boys basketball teams the past seven years.

Before that, she briefly served as the general manager of the Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry, the former Continental Basketball Association organization.

Most of Johnson-Klein’s coaching experience remains at the college level.

Johnson-Klein coached at Fresno State for 2½ seasons beginning in 2002. She also was an assistant at Louisiana Tech, Oklahoma and Lawton’s Cameron University.

At Fresno State, Johnson-Klein quickly became popular among fans.

In Johnson-Klein’s first season, Fresno State went 21-13 after going 9-20 the previous season.

But by her third season, the coach’s popularity took a huge hit with the university firing Johnson-Klein and declaring that she took prescription painkillers from players, committed financial misdeeds and jeopardized student-athlete welfare.

In 2007, Johnson-Klein fired back with a lawsuit that sought to expose the university’s alleged unequal treatment of female coaches and athletes.


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