Cathy Neushul, former women’s water polo coach at UC Santa Barbara, has filed a Title IX lawsuit against the University of California Board of Regents. In the complaint submitted on September 19 Neushul alleges that she was demoted to assistant coach after repeated complaints to school administrators about a budget discrepancy between the school’s men’s and women’s varsity teams.
According to the case Neushul also asserts that “money raised by [Director of Men’s and Women’s Water Polo, Wolf] Wigo was going solely to the Men’s team, though he was supposed to be fundraising for both teams.” Neushul indicated she was not invited to coach at Wigo’s summer youth water polo camps, a potential source of revenue for the women’s varsity team according to the document.
Neushul, the former All-American for the Gauchos’ club team in the 80s, took the top job in 2011 after serving as an assistant on the varsity bench for three years. Two weeks prior to the opening of the 2014 season she was quietly replaced by Wigo, that after being told she would be second assistant coach for both the men and women, as asserted in the complaint. Neushul departed the program after two 20-15 seasons, the most wins for the team since 1997 and the highest winning percentage (.571) of any of its coaches.
At the time, her dismissal prompted an online petition effort aimed at having her and assistant coach Connor Levoff reinstated. Wigo coached the women for all of 2014 after which the school hired Serela Kay to take on head coaching duties.
The case document also reveals that Neushul told school administrators that $40,000 intended for women’s water polo coaches was being directed to Wigo for his work as Director of Water Polo, but that he, according to the complaint, “never attended a single Women’s practice, and was not a presence at their games.”
Neushul has retained the East Bay law firm of Siegel & Yee. Their principal, Ron Siegel, “won the two largest verdicts ever awarded in cases brought under Title IX,” according to the firm’s web site, both of which involved female coaches at Fresno State University.
Neushul is asking for reinstatement as head coach of the UCSB women’s varsity team and damages for lost wages, among other items.
UC Regents representatives did not respond to a request for comment as of posting time.