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Belmont Names New Soccer Coach

Belmont Names New Soccer Coach

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Belmont University in Nashville has hired Heather Henson as the women's soccer coach, replacing Lisa Howe, whose departure from the university became the center of a controversy involving sexual orientation discrimination.

Henson has been a NCAA coach for 16 years, most recently as the head coach of the women's soccer program at East Tennessee State University, according to The Tennessean. She is also head coach of the Tennessee State Team for the Olympic Development Program.

Neither Howe nor Belmont athletics director Mike Strickland will confirm the reason for Howe leaving her position, but members of the team have gone on the record to say it was because she made it public she would need a hiatus from coaching this spring to help care for the child she and her partner are expecting. The student athletes said Strickland told their coach that she violated an unspoken "don't ask, don't tell" policy about sexuality when she asked whether she could tell her team about her partner's pregnancy.

The university has since added a clause in its policies, banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.

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