After hearing Belmont president Bob Fisher’s statements Wednesday night about the university’s policy on sexual orientation, former women’s soccer coach Lisa Howe reiterated Thursday she would “consider reapplying” for her old job.
Fisher spoke publicly for the first time Wednesday since Howe’s departure. Howe disclosed to her team two weeks ago that her same-sex partner is pregnant. Last Thursday, the university announced she had resigned. On Friday, the school said it was a mutual agreement between the two parties. But several soccer players have said Howe was fired after the disclosure.
On Wednesday, Fisher said during a news conference, “In the 10 years I have served as Belmont’s president, sexual orientation has not been considered in making hiring, promotion, salary or dismissal decisions.”
Howe and her attorney, Abby Rubenfeld, took the statements as a victory.
“I was delighted to hear that Belmont has adopted a non-discrimination policy,” Rubenfeld told The City Paper Thursday morning. “I applaud them. I think they are leaders among Christian universities, and I am really eager to see the written version of the policy.”
Prior to Fisher’s comments on Wednesday, Howe told The City Paper she would think about returning to Belmont if she was offered her job back.
“I would have to take my time,” she said. “I do miss the team. I have invested a lot in that program. Coaching has been my life’s work, and it is my passion. I do want to make sure the next place I work has policies that make me feel safe and welcome working there, and help me feel like my family is welcome and safe working there.”
On Thursday afternoon, Howe released a statement through Rubenfeld’s office in response to Fisher’s comments.
“I congratulate and praise Dr. Fisher for announcing this non-discrimination policy, which will set an example for Christian schools and universities across the country,” Howe said in the statement. “I look forward to seeing this policy implemented. I intend for my next job to be in a place where I feel safe and welcome. If Belmont is that place, then I will certainly consider reapplying.”
Howe spent six years at Belmont and compiled a 52-48-16 record.
When asked Wednesday if she felt comfortable during her time at Belmont, Howe sidestepped the question.
“We just had a great experience at Belmont as far as turning the program around,” she said. “My experiences were very positive with that program.”