Denise Taylor
Denise Taylor

Former Jackson State women’s basketball coach was awarded $200,000 as part of a lawsuit filed against the university for invasion of privacy.

On Friday, a Mississippi U.S. District Court judge granted Denise Taylor’s  claim that the school inflicted emotion pain and suffering on her during her tenure as head coach.

Taylor, who was the head women’s basketball coach at JSU for 10 seasons before she was fired in 2011, filed the lawsuit against the school on Jan. 24, 2012 claiming among other things wrongful termination, sexual discrimination and invasion of privacy.

She was awarded $182,000 in December after a judge ruled in favor of her breach of contract allegation.

According to the 2012 complaint, Taylor first aired her work environment concerns to senior women’s administrator Adrienne Sweeney in March 2011  to complain about unfair treatment, recruiting, and budgets of the women’s basketball team that she thought was based on gender inequality.

According to court documents, Taylor had been previously displeased the school  wouldn’t green-light a trip to the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association convention at the Final Four in Indianapolis due to a lack of funds.

The following day, Taylor also complained of the sex discrimination via e-mails sent to Robert Walker, who was the interim athletic director at JSU, and school president Carolyn Meyers.

A few days later it is alleged Meyers instructed Ella Holmes to conduct an audit of the women’s basketball program “to find a reason to terminate Taylor.”

It was then that on April 8, Taylor was placed on administrative leave by the university citing misconduct that included charges of sexual gender stereotyping, emotion and verbal abuse, forcing student-athletes to change class schedules and misappropriation of funds.

On May 20, JSU sent a letter to Taylor that outlined their intent to fired her as head coach, and later fired in June

Taylor’s legal representative said her client was let go because she threatened to file a Title IX complaint against the university.

The claims against Taylor and her subsequent firing was described as an attempt by JSU to “divert attention from their wrongful actions,” the lawsuit said.

“From the evidence we have seen so far, it appears that Jackson State retaliated against. (Taylor) because it was concerned its disparate treatment of the women’s basketball program would come to light.”



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