Ex-women's coach sues school, alleging gender discrimination

HOUSTON -- Former Texas Southern women's basketball coach Surina Dixon filed a lawsuit Monday against the school, alleging gender discrimination and retaliation in her firing in June.

Dixon was hired in March by interim athletic director Johnnie Cole and school president John Rudley. She was fired in June by new athletic director Charles McClelland.

In the lawsuit filed in federal court, Dixon alleges that she was retaliated against after she complained about gender discrimination and advocated for gender equity. The lawsuit says Dixon was offered a one-year contract at $75,000 while new men's basketball coach Tony Harvey was given a five-year contract at $150,000 a year.

Dixon also said that she agreed to a four-year contract, which was changed by McClelland to a one-year deal.

"I believe because I questioned the terms of the contract, the years, the salary, which were a huge gender difference and because I was questioning those things, I think that I was terminated based on sex discrimination and retaliation," Dixon told Houston television station KRIV.

The lawsuit doesn't seek a specific amount, but does ask for back pay and equitable relief.

"I just want to see Texas Southern be fair with women when negotiating their contracts," Dixon said.

McClelland said he had not seen the lawsuit.

"I have not received anything at this point, but I am confident that Texas Southern University has followed all local, state, and federal laws, and NCAA rules and regulations," McClelland told KRIV.