Former Olympic water polo head coach Rich Corso is suing the University of California, Berkeley for “wrongful termination” after “school officials created a hostile work environment” to drive him to resign. Corso was reported to be “stepping down” as head coach of the women’s varsity team last September after earning a 227-98 record over a 10 year stint, including earning an NCAA title shot in 2011.
…school officials created a hostile work environment in order to force [Corso] out last year. According to the suit, administrators wanted to hire a younger woman to run the water polo program that Corso had built into one of the nation’s best.
In an interview with the San Jose Mercury News, Corso revealed he is asking for $1.38 million in lost wages and benefits from the university after his unplanned departure.
“I had no intention of retiring,” he said in the newspaper interview. His resignation came two months after signing a one-year contract, which he claimed was orchestrated by the university to give the impression he would be retiring the following year.
The coach alleges in his complaint that Cal officials created incidents to make a case against him in 2015 including a one-year internal investigation into alleged violations of NCAA rules. The 62-year-old is charging age and gender discrimination against athletic director Mike Williams, senior women’s administrator Jenny Simon-O’Neill and associate athletic director of compliance, Jay Larson.
Cal officials responded in a statement to the Mercury News that the school had received NCAA penalties for a violation that took place under Corso’s leadership.
“Many of the allegations in coach Corso’s lawsuit are demonstrably false, and statements that the lawsuit attributes to Cal athletics administrators are entirely fictitious,” the school asserted in its statement.
Cal hired Sonoma State’s Coralie Simmons as Corso’s replacement last October. She is currently the only woman coaching one of the seven schools that comprise the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Cal asserted in its statement that they considered male and female candidates before selecting Simmons.