Statement by Fresno State President John D. Welty on the Termination of Women’s Basketball Coach Stacy Johnson-Klein
Today the university has notified Stacy Johnson-Klein of our intent to terminate her employment as head women’s basketball coach at Fresno State.
The termination will be done consistent with the requirements of our collective bargaining agreement which provides full due process.
Johnson-Klein’s termination is the result of findings made after a three-week administrative review into a series of allegations from team members and staff.
The review confirmed that Johnson-Klein had inappropriately obtained pain medications from students and staff, engaged in deceptive and improper fiscal actions, lied, and was insubordinate.
The review found that Johnson-Klein disregarded the health and safety of student athletes and her obligation to serve as a role model to them. She also took improper actions that resulted in an NCAA violation and placed the university at risk for major violations, engaged in unprofessional conduct, and created a hostile environment that led to the virtual complete loss of support for the coach by the team and her entire coaching staff.
The review team was composed of the university’s special assistant to the Vice President for Administration and Director of Human Resources Dr. Jeannine Raymond and Associate Director for Academic Personnel Services Janette Redd Williams. These two staff members were assisted in their investigation by campus attorney Nana Nakano from the California State University Office of the General Counsel and the auditing firm of Moore-Grider.
The review team conducted a comprehensive and detailed investigation which included interviews with the women’s basketball coach, all of her staff members, student team members, the team trainer, athletic administrators and numerous other individuals relative to the nature of each specific accusation. On receiving the original allegations against the coach, Fresno State moved as quickly as possible to complete its investigation.
Fresno State’s review began February 7 when Dr. Raymond was notified by two associate athletic directors of problems raised by the women’s basketball team’s assistant coaches and student athletes. The resulting review concluded:
• Johnson-Klein directed improper cash transactions to “skim” money from her subordinates’ bonus payments. These actions were deceptive and also prevented the Athletic Corporation from correctly reporting employee compensation to the state and the Internal Revenue Service.
• Johnson-Klein obtained a half-full bottle of prescription pain medication from a student athlete under her supervision. Johnson-Klein has admitted using one pill obtained in this way. This is a serious concern regardless of how many pills were used. She further stated that her use of prescription pain medication stems from an injury in an auto accident in April 2004. However, statements from other individuals who she also asked for pain medication do not support her assertion. Johnson-Klein has been heard asking for pain medication from as early as 2002.
• Johnson-Klein created a hostile working and learning environment for both students and staff. Numerous individuals have reported abusive behavior.
• Klein was insubordinate on several occasions.
• Klein was untruthful at numerous times during the investigation. She denied contacting players during the review, which was untrue. She defied her supervisor regarding the team’s travel schedule but denied having done so. She claimed staff evaluations were taken from her office when the university had discovered a week earlier that none were ever done. She was untruthful in her description of a trip to basketball tournaments in China, and about an incident where she directed staff to tell a hotel to ignore a call from her administrator canceling room reservations.
There was not sufficient information at this time to support allegations about racially based comments. However, in the process of the review, investigators identified over 20 different issues of her not meeting her performance expectations.
On Wednesday, Feb. 9, Johnson-Klein was informed personally and in writing of her suspension. She was directed not to contact the student athletes or staff until further notice to protect the integrity of the investigation and to protect student athletes and staff who had expressed a fear of reprisal if she suspected any of them to be the source of the allegations. After her suspension she was insubordinate when she chose to contact team members in defiance of my directive.
On a side note: immediately after the coach was placed on administrative leave her lawyer released to the media a copy of an email to the athletic director purporting “sexual harassment.” What her attorney didn’t do was release a second email sent by Coach Johnson-Klein to the athletics director acknowledging that the issue had been resolved and expressing her support for those involved. Her attorney’s initial claim worked to harm and defame two university officials until the university was obliged to release information that the original email centered on her supervisor’s question about whether her attire as a university representative was professional, not some other indefinite and far more serious “sexual harassment.”
Fresno State cannot overlook or simply tolerate the behavior that has now been confirmed in the administrative review, despite the popularity of the coach. The coach was acting in a manner wholly inconsistent with her responsibility to serve as a positive role model for students. Her pattern of dishonesty and misrepresentation risked NCAA sanction against the university and placed her staff in an untenable position of obeying orders that were patently improper or against university policy.
To the many fans and supporters of our women’s basketball program I regret that I am compelled to take this action due to the repeated irresponsibility and dishonesty of the coach. This decision had to be made to protect the integrity of our athletic program and to ensure the safety of student athletes.
We hold our coaches to high standards and we will continue to do so. Intercollegiate athletics exist to provide opportunities for student athletes to excel, to perform at their best and to learn the important values of life. That is a standard we will always uphold.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 2, 2005
Contact: Mark Aydelotte
Background Information: The faculty discipline process
The disciplinary process for Faculty Employees such as Coach Johnson-Klein is a multi-step process. It includes a pre-termination review by an administrator and, thereafter, a full hearing before either the California State Personnel Board or an arbitrator selected in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement. These procedures are designed to ensure that faculty employees receive full due process before a termination becomes final.
The faculty collective bargaining agreement is available on the web at:
http://www.calstate.edu/LaborRel/Contracts HTML/CFA CONTRACT/article19.shtnnl