Dixie State University dismisses basketball coach accused of discrimination

Posted at 8:24 PM, Nov 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-13 10:29:34-05

ST. GEORGE, Utah - Following accusations of discrimination and NCAA violations, Dixie State University dismissed the women’s basketball coach late last week.

The school wouldn’t go into detail about why they dismissed one-season coach Catherria Turner. Turner has been the subject of an investigation by the NCAA into allegations of violations and discrimination.

Related story: Former DSU women’s basketball players accuse coach of discrimination

Former player Austen Harris said she was forced off the team by Turner because of the color of her skin. Even though Turner herself is African American. Harris said she was also discriminated against for her sexual orientation, being forced to disclose it in front of team members and being banned from interacting with certain players. An internal investigation by several school departments sided with Turner.

Regarding Turner's dismissal, a school spokesperson said in a statement Wednesday: "At this time Dixie State University cannot comment on any possible NCAA violations or investigations in regards to its men’s and women’s basketball programs, per NCAA regulations. In addition, Dixie State University declines to comment on the dismissal of women’s basketball coach Catherria Turner due to the matter being a personnel issue."

FOX 13 News reached out to current team members who have previously defended Turner’s actions as a coach, but phone calls were not returned. Attempts to contact coach Turner were also unsuccessful. Harris said she hopes the team can recover from yet another change in coaching staff.

“I’m happy they did what they did,” Harris said. “Because now the girls on the team won’t have to go through what we went through.”

Assistant coach Jenny Phigpin has been named interim coach. The lady Red Storm start their 2014 season next Wednesday at home.