The gay coach of
the University of Missouri men's lacrosse team was told
his contract will not be renewed after nine seasons. Team
leaders said Kyle Hawkins was dismissed because of his
job performance, not his sexual orientation.
completed his first season as head coach after publicly
disclosing his homosexuality. The team finished with a
6-9 record, Hawkins's first losing season at
the school. Because it is involved in a club
sport, the Missouri lacrosse team largely controls its
budget and hiring decisions.
''We, as a team,
did not feel coach Hawkins was the best man for the
job,'' team president Andy Mackley said. ''Sport is all we
care about, not the sexuality of our coach, players,
and those associated with our team.''
Mackley, a junior
who played briefly for Hawkins in high school, called
the decision ''strictly business'' and hailed Hawkins as a
''pioneer'' for his decision to be known as one of the
few openly gay coaches in college sports.
life had zero to do with our team,'' Mackley said.
said he consulted with a lawyer, as did the team, he
doesn't plan a legal challenge.
''I don't have
anything to gain by going after them legally,'' he said.
Hawkins said he
learned of the decision May 4 in a meeting with team
leaders, an assistant coach, faculty advisers, and a
university official. Hawkins said the group offered
eight reasons not to renew his annual contract, which
expires May 31.
concerns: dissatisfaction with his practice regimen and the
coach's negative reputation outside the school.
laughable,'' Hawkins said. ''A week and a half before the
meeting, they had sat in front of the ESPN cameras and said
what a great coach I was.''
the team's faculty adviser, said Hawkins had unrealistic
''He was just no
longer compatible with a club sport,'' she said. ''He's
made lacrosse his life.''
aren't going to be professional lacrosse players,'' Mitchell
added. ''Lacrosse is secondary to most of them. And he's not
happy with that.''
Hawkins said he
has received at least one job offer and interest from
other schools, including varsity programs in Division II and
III. His career record is 127-58, including a
conference championship in 2004. (Alan Scher Zagier,