Beth Burns wins $3.4M judgment against San Diego State

Former San Diego State coach Beth Burns has been awarded a $3.36 million judgment in her wrongful termination, whistleblower lawsuit against the school.

Burns sued in San Diego Superior Court in early 2014, alleging her 2013 firing was in retaliation after she complained about potential Title IX violations.

“This verdict brings a measure of justice to Coach Burns after a years-long struggle to vindicate her rights,” attorney Allison Goddard said in a news release. “It is also hard to miss the signal a verdict like this sends to schools and coaches across the country.”

A five-woman, seven-man jury delivered the verdict Wednesday after a month of testimony and two days of deliberation.

“This verdict reaffirms the principle, embodied in laws like Title IX and the Whistleblower Protection Act, that coaches who stand up for female athletes should not have to fear retaliation by their employers,” Goddard said. “This protection is the cornerstone of Title IX, and cases like this prove how important that is.”

Burns, 57, had alleged breach of contract, saying she retired in April when told she would otherwise be fired.

The lawsuit claimed the school told her she allegedly struck a subordinate. Burns says she never intentionally hit anyone and that the claim was an excuse to retaliate against her for demands that women’s basketball get fair treatment.

Burns is the winningest coach in Aztecs women’s basketball history, going 295-186 in 16 seasons.

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