Ex-LSU tennis coach sues over firing

Former longtime LSU women’s tennis coach Tony Minnis, who was fired earlier this year, filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the university Tuesday.

Minnis, who is black, joined LSU in 1992. LSU finished 11-13 this year, the third straight losing season for the team.

Minnis’ suit alleges he was subjected to “unwelcome race-based harassment and discrimination” throughout his employment at LSU.

The suit contends white coaches were paid up to $30,000 more than Minnis, and that he received “unjust evaluations and false letters of reprimand.”

Minnis repeatedly reported, protested and complained about the alleged illegal discrimination and harassment, to no avail, the suit adds.

He also opposed “inequitable treatment” of women’s athletics at LSU, the suit says.

“Mr. Minnis steadfastly fought for equality in women’s athletics only to discover he also was being subjected to inequity,” his attorney, Jill Craft, said Tuesday. “He, by standing up for his rights, is continuing to stand for vindication of the rights of all.”

Herb Vincent, LSU’s senior associate athletic director, said the university denies the allegations in the lawsuit.

LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva is named as a defendant in the suit.

“Each time (Minnis) opposed unlawful discrimination/harassment and retaliation as well as ... gender inequities, he was chastised by the Defendants, belittled by Defendants, and threatened by Defendant Alleva that he would be terminated,” the suit alleges.

Alleva announced May 16 that LSU would not renew Minnis’ contract. The announcement came less than a week after the Lady Tigers lost their first-round match in the NCAA Tournament.

The suit says LSU refused to give Minnis any reason for his termination, putting him “under a significant cloud of suspicion.”

Minnis, who is not working, said Tuesday he has been asked during several job interviews, “What really happened at LSU? This doesn’t make sense.”

Minnis, 47, was replaced by Julia Sell. She came to LSU from the United States Tennis Association, where she served as the national coach of the regional training center in south Florida since August 2011. Prior to that stint, she was an assistant coach
at Notre Dame for three years.

Sell, a white female, is being paid “substantially more a year” than Minnis, his suit says.

The suit also names as defendants the LSU Board of Supervisors; Associate Athletic Director Eddie Nunez; and Miriam Segar, senior women’s administrator.

The suit was assigned to state District Judge Janice Clark.

Editor’s note: This article was changed on Nov. 21 to remove to tennis team’s record while Minnis was coach.