Cal­houn named in sex­bias law­suit

Coach cited in com­plaint against Univer­sity of St. Joseph

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By David Borges

“She was fired for no rea­son, no cause, and then they go out and hire a guy.” Jac­ques Par­enteau, at­tor­ney for Ja­clyn Piscitelli

A for­mer ath­let­ics ad­min­is­tra­tor at the Univer­sity of Saint Joseph has filed a sex dis­crim­i­na­tion law­suit against the school, nam­ing Hall of Fame bas­ket­ball coach Jim Cal­houn in a com­plaint that al­leges she was sub­jected to a “male­dom­i­nated, hos­tile work en­vi­ron­ment” that was dis­dain­ful to­ward women.

Ac­cord­ing to the suit, filed Wed­nes­day and first re­ported by the Con­necti­cut Law Tri­bune, Ja­clyn Piscitelli was sub­jected to un­fair treat­ment and specif­i­cally noted sev­eral in­stances in­volv­ing Cal­houn, as­sis­tant coach Glen Miller, for­mer ath­letic di­rec­tor Bill Car­darelli, and oth­ers.

Piscitelli was fired from her po­si­tion as as­so­ci­ate ath­letic di­rec­tor on June 21 and re­placed by Josh Ing­ham.

In one al­leged in­ci­dent in late May or early June 2019, the law­suit states Cal­houn re­ferred to an­other fe­male SJU em­ployee, Mary Cooper, as a “bitch” and said “when Mary asks me what

to do with work I hand her, I want to tell her to ‘shove it up her (ex­ple­tive).’ ”

Saint Joseph be­came a co­ed school two years ago and added men’s bas­ket­ball last year. Cal­houn, the for­mer UConn coach, was named the pro­gram’s first coach and led the team to a 16­12 over­all record.

Ac­cord­ing to Piscitelli’s at­tor­ney, Jac­ques Par­enteau, she and other fe­male em­ploy­ees were “dis­dained, ig­nored and were treated as if they were sec­ond­class cit­i­zens in a boys’ club that was cre­ated fol­low­ing the hir­ing of Jim Cal­houn and Glen Miller. She was fired for no rea­son, no cause, and then they go out and hire a guy.”

Reached by phone on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, Cal­houn said he had “no com­ment at all” on the sit­u­a­tion.

Cal­houn was UConn coach for 26 years and won three na­tional ti­tles be­fore re­tir­ing in 2012. Miller served as Cal­houn’s as­sis­tant for sev­eral years, and later was an as­sis­tant to Cal­houn’s re­place­ment, Kevin Ol­lie.

Par­enteau is cur­rently rep­re­sent­ing Ol­lie in his at­tempt to claim the nearly $11 mil­lion left on his con­tract when he was fired “for cause” in March, 2018.

“Be­gin­ning al­most im­me­di­ately af­ter Cal­houn and Miller be­gan their full­time em­ploy­ment with De­fen­dant, the ath­letic depart­ment be­came a male­dom­i­nated, hos­tile work en­vi­ron­ment,” Piscitelli said in the com­plaint. “De­fen­dant per­mit­ted Cal­houn and Miller to trans­form the work en­vi­ron­ment in the ath­letic depart­ment to one that was openly hos­tile and dis­dain­ful to­ward women and where women were treated as sec­ond class cit­i­zens.”

Among other claims, Piscitelli al­leges that she was treated un­equally work­load in­creased dra­mat­i­cally be­cause of the in­sti­tu­tion of the new men’s sports teams, but a re­quest for help was de­nied, while Ing­ham, the school’s sports in­for­ma­tion di­rec­tor, was given a new as­sis­tant and in­tern.

Cal­houn, Piscitelli al­leges, forced her to clean up cof­fee pods af­ter he knocked them on the ground, re­mark­ing that his wife would do so if it hap­pened at home; re­quired her to open his of­fice door on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions and re­ferred to her as “cer­tainly hot.”

Miller, she al­leges, made “nu­mer­ous in­ap­pro­pri­ate com­ments” to her, in­clud­ing “crit­i­ciz­ing her for not be­ing cheer­ful or smil­ing enough.”

On one oc­ca­sion, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint, Miller said to Piscitelli “I’d swipe left, too.” Ap­par­ently, that was a ref­er­ence to the dat­ing app Tin­der, which re­quires users to swipe left to re­ject fur­ther contact with an­other user or swipe right to in­di­cate in­ter­est in an­other user.

Car­darelli and Vice Pres­i­dent of Stu­dent Af­fairs Ken Be­dini failed to ad­dress her con­cerns, Piscitelli said.

Be­dini, she said, re­acted over the course of her com­plaints “in such a way as to sug­gest that Plain­tiff was caus­ing trou­ble by op­pos­ing sex­ist con­duct in the work­place” and told her she should not re­turn to the univer­sity for the next aca­demic year.

Piscitelli said she was ter­mi­nated from her po­si­tion on June 21. Be­dini told her at the time that she had not done any­thing wrong, but that the univer­sity was mov­ing in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint.

Piscitelli, among other re­quests, is seek­ing com­pen­satory and puni­tive dam­ages, at­tor­ney’s fees and other re­lief deemed eq­ui­table by the court.

Cal­houn, 77, re­tired from coach­ing UConn in 2012, but re­mained as an ad­viser in the ath­letic depart­ment and worked as an ESPN an­a­lyst. He was ap­proached by Car­darelli, a long­time friend and an as­sis­tant coach un­der Cal­houn at UConn in the 1980s, for ad­vice in build­ing a men’s bas­ket­ball pro­gram.

He even­tu­ally agreed to take over the pro­gram as coach, hir­ing Miller as his as­sis­tant. Cal­houn led the team to a sur­prise run to the GNAC tour­na­ment cham­pi­onship game in his first sea­son, los­ing to Al­ber­tus Mag­nus 81­77.

Michael P. Far­rell / Al­bany Times Union

For­mer UConn men’s bas­ket­ball coach Jim Cal­houn speaks dur­ing the Howard Garfinkel coach­ing clinic at Shenen­de­howa High School on Sept. 19, 2015, in Clifton Park, N.Y.

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