Belmont changes stance on reasons for coach's departure

Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 2:35pm

Belmont has changed its story regarding the departure of women’s soccer coach Lisa Howe, who recently disclosed to her team that she and her same-sex partner were having a baby.

After releasing a statement Thursday night that Howe had resigned, the university issued a statement Friday that Howe did not resign — nor was she dismissed. Instead, the university said Howe’s exit was the result of a mutual agreement between the two parties.

“Following the publication of inaccurate information regarding the conclusion of Coach Lisa Howe's employment at Belmont University, both Coach Howe and the university wish to correct the errors and move forward without further media distraction,” the statement said. “They both agree that Coach Howe did not "resign" from her employment. Neither was she dismissed. Rather, there was a mutual agreement that it would be in the best interests of both Coach Howe and the university for her to conclude her employment as coach.”

This contradicts athletics director Mike Strickland’s statement Thursday night when he said Howe “has informed the university of her intent to conclude her employment with Belmont. This was a decision Coach Howe made.”

Members of the women’s soccer team said that they believed Howe was fired and junior captain Sari Lin said a team meeting with Strickland on Friday was “absolutely pointless.”

Assistant athletics director Betty Wiseman declined to comment when approached before Saturday’s men’s basketball game between Belmont and Vanderbilt. Wiseman said Strickland would not be at the game due to an illness.

In the statement released by the university Friday, Howe said she wanted to “express my deep gratitude to the players, their families, the alumnae and faculty members who have come forward to express their concern over my leaving. I want them to know that I am extremely proud to have had the opportunity to get to know and work with all of them.”

Howe compiled a 52-48-16 record during six seasons at Belmont.

4 Comments on this post:

By: roym on 12/4/10 at 2:27

You have to admire their gall. First, they drive off their coach and then when they get called on it, Belmont has the nerve to say there were "incorrect media reports." Taking aside whatever legal employment term you wish to use, you fired your coach, probably because of her sexual orientation. That may be your legal right, but you are officially a joke, and a bigoted one, in my opinion at this point. The next time Belmont seeks a zoning/ordinance change or access to city fields, I will encourage my city council member to fight you.

By: Cold Floridian on 12/4/10 at 5:44

Belmont is an embarrassment to Nashville.
We are trying to be a progressive and energetic city and draw more people here to our abundant college campuses, but when you show this prejudice side, you push people away from our great city...

Belmont, you are the rotten apple in the basket!
Shame on you!

Think before you post. You could be displaying your ignorance.....

By: justexisting on 12/4/10 at 5:47


It's not bigotry, they can make any decisions they want to as a private institution. You can get over it, and as can the rest of those who want to fight about it. She knew from the moment she became coach and decided to have the child that this would happen, once again she KNEW this would happen, and therefore she knew that it would cause the consequences we see now. The only reason Homosexuals are mad is because they feel like it is exclusionary to them, and want to try to state that their relationships are as natural as heterosexual relationships(WHICH JUST IS NOT NATURAL) , you can not justify your conscious choice and expect others to accept it. No one is against homosexuals, they should realize no one really cares for their life style to be considered natural. As far as your encouraging your council member to fight Belmont that is an ignorant statement and I understand one you made out of emotion.

By: richgoose on 12/5/10 at 2:59

It would seem to me that the women's soccer coach would have known what the Belmont University guidelines were. Surely an academic institution would have some form of indoctrination process that covered their stance on sex of all types.

Were I queer, I would have asked the University during the interview what their position was on homosexuals as teachers. When you see the word christian written in private institution's charter,name,pamplet or even word of mouth I would think that one would realize that you might be compromised by your sexuality.

Obviously this young woman had elected to try to stay under the radar. When her sexual preference became known the jig was up.

From my view point this situation has nothing to do with being a progressive university . It has to do with this young woman broke the rules of employment.

The liberal media (of which probably many are queer) are going to have a hard time putting the heat on the Christians. If you cannot knuckle under the Muslim sect in this country I doubt you are going to have much luck with the Christians either .