VCU Coach: Fired For Being Gay?

By Shelby Chiasson || Since 2005, James Finley has coached conference winning volleyball teams at Virginia Commonwealth University. His players have consistently placed at the top of the Colonial Athletic Association since the beginning of his tenure at the university. Late in November, Finley was terminated from his position. He…

vcu coach

Shelby Chiasson
Shelby Chiasson

By Shelby Chiasson || Since 2005, James Finley has coached conference winning volleyball teams at Virginia Commonwealth University. His players have consistently placed at the top of the Colonial Athletic Association since the beginning of his tenure at the university. Late in November, Finley was terminated from his position.

He believes it was because he is homosexual.

While investigations conclude discrimination was not a factor in Finley’s termination, details remain murky. The report verifies that Finley did not violate VCU’s employment practices and policies. VCU officials have vehemently stated that the decision to fire Finley had nothing to do with discriminatory decisions based on the coach’s sexuality.

Current athletic director Ed McLaughlin joined the VCU staff in August. Finley has stated that McLaughlin never initiated a conversation with him or spoke with his players. The coach claimed that the first time McLaughlin invited him into his office to speak was when he fired him.

“He didn’t offer any explanation whatsoever,” said Finley.

Last week, McLaughlin released a statement.

“Our program needs a different direction and different leadership to attain our goals of achieving at an elite level nationally,” said McLaughlin.

The decision was made after Finley led his team to finish the season with a record of 25-6, the best mark of Finlay’s career.

Finley’s termination shocked athletes and students alike. According to investigative documents, McLaughlin spoke to the team after Finley’s dismissal. According to senior Kristin Boyd, the athletics director told the team “they deserve better” and that he “wanted to find someone who better represented the university.”

James Finley’s reputation is nothing short of spectacular. Former VCU athletic director Norwood Teague described Finley as “one of the most committed coaches I have ever been around.”

Though Finley has received job offers from other schools, he wants his job at VCU back.

“I would love nothing more than to re-join the athletic staff at VCU and get back to work. Though we’ve come miles since I first joined VCU eight years ago, there’s a lot of work still to do with the team and I hope I’m able to be a part of that work,” he said recently.

Winthrop’s athletic director, Tom Hickman, stated his opinion on the incident. “In my 24 years at Winthrop, I’m sure we have had some coaches or staff members who had same-sex preferences,” said Hickman. “But it’s not something that we take into account when we are looking into hiring a new staff member.”

A petition is currently circulating to reinstate Finley at VCU. Currently, the petition has over 11,000 signatures. Despite how his time at VCU came to a conclusion, many in his field consider Finley a respectable and talented coach.

Finley married his husband, John Sternlicht, in 2010. They reside in Virginia with Sternlicht’s son from a previous marriage.

Finley and his husband have been working constantly on appealing the decision. Despite other schools reaching out with offers for Finley, VCU is where he wants to be. If he is not reinstated to the position, the two may consider legal action.

“You always want to be judged on your work,” said Finley. “Not on who you love.”


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Nolff January 23, 2013 at 10:11 am

At Bob Jones or Erskin Uninversity you can get fired for having opinions.

BigT January 23, 2013 at 6:25 pm

Reasonable people are getting tired of Liberal Paranoia…

From Global Warming to Guns…you people FEAR phantom enemies…Yet you side w/ Murdering and Dangerous Terroists against us…and refuse to prosecute the criminal…

This is just another Cliche cause to make the Stupid liberals feel meaningful…it’s getting old…and you look ridiculous…

Robert January 23, 2013 at 7:48 pm

You’re a fine fucking person to talk about paranoia….

BigT January 24, 2013 at 5:36 am

Silly me, Robert: I think there are terriorists out there who hate America and that Obama does not respect 2nd Amendment rights. I think the economy is weak and Obama has worked against the Keystone Pipeline…

I don’t think that every non-liberal white man is a black-hating Racist and I don’t think we must be taxed wildly to stop man-made global warning….I think true Christians and conventional families are wholesome and good…

People: Robert is the kind of BRAIN-DEAD Dumb@$$ running the country right now…

GROSS January 23, 2013 at 6:25 pm

What a perverted country we have become!

Can you believe that our Prez actually believes that marriage between to men is the same as that between a man and woman?

How can a nation literally reject 6,000 years of civilized norms?

Why are we embracing such deviance?

Where do you draw the line, people?

If this “educator” was engaging if necrophilia, would he lose his job? what about bestiality? what about pedophilia? What about polygamy with animals and small children? Guys, I’m sick and tired of pretending that sexual deviance is Okay.

No country survives or prospers when its peoples reject God’s law…

Robert January 23, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Do some research. Same sex marriage happened in ancient history. No, it was not wide spread, but it is part of world history. Currently there are eleven countries that have legalized it and other countries (like the US) that have partial legality.

BigT January 24, 2013 at 5:39 am

Who says you can’t go marry any person you want. I bet the UU church will do the ceremony, as well as many others…

Truth is: you want to STUFF you ideology down society’s throat…and you want to punish me if I resist your dogma…

Quit LYING about who you are, and you may earn the Respect you DON’T have for the people not like you…

CUvinny January 24, 2013 at 9:46 am

You are seriously fucked up in the head.

Same sex marriage – CONSENT
Necrophilia – NO CONSENT
Bestiality – NO CONSENT
Polygamy with animals and small children – NO CONSENT

The fact that you equate these things shows how fucked up you are, quit posting your sick fantasies here.

Elliott Spritzer January 23, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Why should only straight men have the right to be miserable? Next time I feel like getting married, I am going to find a woman I hate and buy her a house.

9" January 24, 2013 at 12:53 am

Maybe,they want a dyke.I mean,how many female coaches aren’t trigger-licker’s?

PS:to,too,two! As in;I went to Food Lion and met a guy who was queer,too.The two of us fucked our brains out,in the goddamn parking lot…

Recognizing a person by their sexuality is a fairly new concept,that’s only been around a little over a 100 years

BigT January 24, 2013 at 5:44 am

Problem is: When you and/or your lover is HIV Pos. WE have to pay for it..and listen while you BASH us after we told you so…

What about the GAY preists that infiltrated the CHRISTIAN Church or the FILTHY molestors you enable to prey on little boys…It’s much more prevelant among gay males…Do you admit Sandusky is one of yours???

Who pays for ALL the damage you do to society ???

Not to mention all the other extra Health problems there are associated w/ Gay men…

It’s like Smoking….except they are ostracized. You cost society and just DEMAND extra righjts and funding for AIDs….

9" January 24, 2013 at 6:43 am

I been paying all my fucking life,big fits to a T.Already watched my husband die(stroke/no AIDS/no HIV);got that ‘special right'(‘watch him take his last breath),after paying an attorney a small fortune,you redneck motherfucker.No hospital-visitation rights..

I’m quite a healthy homo.Never had an STD,except one I got from a bitch in the 70’s.Think you can beat me in a 10K,punk?

Speaking of smoking,do you need a cigarette?

BigT January 24, 2013 at 7:22 am

You must be an idiot (who was lied to) then. You can’t be forbidden hospital rights, except by the patient…You are clicjhe myth..

Or: was your “husband” really a closet Gay person, who was married conventionally to a wonam, and you were stalking him and his family???…Sounds WEIRDO….

Also: So you Denounce Exorbidant EXTRA-Equal AIDS funding, right..if you are responsible and accountable for your own????…

PS: How many people have you KILLED w/ your second-hand smoke…did that possibly have anything w/ the ‘stroke’???…

Robert January 24, 2013 at 12:07 pm

BignuT…you are wrong. In SC, same sex partner does not have same legal rights as family, UNLESS person has made Durable Power of Attorney naming that person in charge.

Just like I couldn’t make decisions when to pull the plug on you (damn!), same sex partner in SC can’t act like “family”.

BigT January 24, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Then make that person power of attorney…and STFU…You have a solution.

I’d have to follow the same procedure regardless of sexual preference…

PS: A partner should NOT have LEGAL Authority UNLESS it has been agreed upon by the patient and done legallly…

Otherwise: someone could just walk in off the street and be in charge of a patient…That’s STUPID…

You want EXTRA rights for Gays that others do not have… and that’s a problem….

9" January 24, 2013 at 7:54 am


BigT January 24, 2013 at 8:04 am

That’s what I thought…..

9" January 24, 2013 at 8:18 am

that’s who you are

BigT January 24, 2013 at 1:10 pm

FITS wishes…He’d being able to get this site to the level of credibility where he desperetly wants it…if he were me…

Glenn January 24, 2013 at 2:32 pm

He’s kinda sexy in that striped shirt. And those big balls… I’d ball with him any time…


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