LOS ANGELES (CN) – Los Angeles City College’s men’s basketball coach says he was fired because he’s “the old white guy.” Michael Miller was LACC’s athletic director and head basketball coach since 2002.
Miller said he was asked to step down as athletic director in 2008, for only a year, to dedicate his energies to an audit of the school’s athletic program.
Miller says he was scheduled to return as coach in April this year. But in his Superior Court complaint, Miller says he got a letter from LACC President Jamillah Moore saying it was “not in the best interest of the college” for him to work as both coach and athletic director.
“This rationale is pretextual on its face as Coach Miller had enjoyed more success than most coaches in the country while also serving as athletic director,” the lawsuit states.
When Miller complained, he says, President Moore eliminated the entire athletic department, and his job with it.
Miller says Moore even went on record saying, “All we have to do is just eliminate the athletic program and that will solve our Coach Miller problem.”
Miller also claims Moore slandered him by calling him a “scum bag” and saying that “Coach Miller taught another coach how to commit fraud.”
Miller also claims his firing was in retaliation for his whistleblowing. He claims that in February this year he recommended “that financial expenditures for the badminton team should be terminated because the badminton team did not exist.” He claims he protested this “misappropriation/misuse of public funds,” which was “facilitated by defendant Moore himself despite Coach Miller’s objections.”
Miller says LACC won 14 straight conference championships – a national record – and two state championships under his leadership.
Miller, who is white, demands punitive damages for racial and age discrimination, retaliation, slander and interference with contract. He is represented by Rupert Byrdsong with Ivie, McNeill & Wyatt.