SAN JOSE -- A San Jose State track and cross-country coach filed a $2.25 million wrongful termination suit against the school Friday in Santa Clara County Superior Court, alleging discrimination and retaliation.
Ron Davis, an African-American who is a member of the Spartans' Sports Hall of Fame, alleges that the school's decision to terminate his contract after one year was racially biased. The 16-page complaint also said athletic director Gene Bleymaier mounted a campaign to oust Davis and caused emotional distress that led to heart tests in January. Davis, 72, said Friday that he suffered a stroke in the past two weeks.
A school spokeswoman said in a statement that "this is a personnel matter that we cannot discuss publicly other than to say the university has strict policies against discrimination and retaliation, and the university denies in the strongest terms any allegations that it discriminated or retaliated against Ron Davis in any way and for any reason. The terms of Mr. Davis' contract were honored and fulfilled. His one-year appointment expired and was not renewed."
Davis was hired to resurrect the Spartans track and cross-country programs. The cross-country team finished last at the Western Athletic Conference championships last season, but the Spartan men have never placed higher than fifth out of seven schools since 1997.
San Jose State is in the process of hiring a new coach.
Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.