Ex-basketball coach sues VUU over firing

Williard Coker

by Michael Schwartz, RichmondBizsense.com

RICHMOND, Va. (RichmondBizSense.com) -  March 2011 was good for almost everyone in the local college basketball world.

But while Shaka Smart, Chris Mooney and their teams at VCU and the University of Richmond grabbed headlines as dueling Cinderellas, Willard Coker made news of a different sort.

Coker was fired as head coach of Virginia Union University men’s basketball team last year during March Madness, and now he has sued VUU for defamation and millions of dollars in damages.

The suit alleges that VUU Athletic Director Michael Bailey knew his statements to the press about Coker’s dismissal being tied to supposed recruiting issues were false when Bailey announced the hiring of Coker’s replacement at a news conference.

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