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VCU women's volleyball coach James Finley claims he was fired for being gay

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James Finley

Virginia Commonwealth University's women's volleyball coach James Finley claims he was fired because he is gay. And from what we've read so far, he's got a good case. From GayRVA.com:

The VCU Women’s Volleyball season went well for Finley. He and his women entered the Atlantic 10 Conference, a step up in difficulty and glory from their previous seasons in the CAA. People picked the Rams to take 6th place. Instead they took 3rd, with a final record of 25-6 overall in the regular season- they got as far as the semi finals – a solid standing for a team in their first A10 championship.

Finley claims new athletic director Ed McLaughlin avoided him all season, then called him into his office after the A10 championships and told him they were going "in a different direction."

According to Finley and GayRVA.com, McLaughlin is clearing out all of the LGBT staff members:

Finley didn’t think much of the issue as the season passed, but on Oct. 5th, when Pat Stauffer, a 30-year-veteran of VCU athletics and an open lesbian, was demoted from Senior Women’s Administrator to Sr. Associate AD for Sports Administration. It was too much for Finley, it was another red flag.

“If one things happens, OK, it happens; but if it happens a second time, it’s a pattern,” said Finley when he connected the dots. The lack of interaction all season and the circumstances of his dismissal became suspect.

Finley told NBC 12:

He tells the girls that they need somebody that represents the university well, and that really just stabbed me in the heart. Then I was like, wow, this guy just absolutely doesn't want somebody gay on his staff.

The Web site also talked to some of Finley's players, who called him "a good coach."

You can read their full report at gayRVA.com.

Anne Buckley is in the VCU Office of Public Affairs, and Scott Day is with VCU athletic communications.