Brandeis Fires Basketball Coach Over Racial Harassment Complaints
Updated 7:00 p.m.
Brandeis University fired its men’s basketball coach on Thursday after receiving complaints alleging what the school called “preferential and discriminatory treatment, unprofessional behavior, and racially biased harassment.”
University president Ronald Liebowitz announced the firing of coach Brian Meehan move in a Facebook post that did not once mention Meehan’s name. Meehan has coached at the university for 15 years and is the school’s all-time winningest coach. Meehan’s name has been removed from the website of the university’s athletics program.
Several students filed complaints against Meehan last year, Leibowitz wrote, leading to what he called “disciplinary action.” A new complaint was brought last week, causing Meehan to be put on administrative leave before being terminated.
According to an internal HR report cited by Deadspin, Meehan engaged in derogatory language towards black players, including saying of one African player, “I don’t want to sit next to him because I’ll get Ebola.” The report also alleged that Meehan engaged in favoritism towards his sons, who played on the team. Players also alleged that black players were more likely to be cut from the team: Deadspin’s analysis of historical rosters showed that black players averaged 2.22 seasons, while white players averaged 2.9 seasons. Only one African-American player graduated from the team in the last four years, the HR report found.
“I am deeply disturbed by these complaints,” Leibowitz wrote. “I want to be absolutely clear: At Brandeis, there is zero tolerance for discriminating against any student, staff member, faculty member, or visitor because of their race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or any other aspect of their identity.”