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SAN DIEGO — Attorneys for former San Diego State University women’s basketball coach Beth Burns filed a lawsuit against the university Wednesday claiming she was unfairly fired.

BethBurnsBurns, who was head coach of the Aztec women’s basketball team for 16 years, retired in April 2013. Her suit claims that the university threatened to fire her and withhold retirement benefits unless voluntarily retired.

“San Diego State fired Coach Burns without good cause, and without any legitimate reason,” said Edward Chapin, one of the attorney’s representing Burns.  University officials wanted her out because she wanted the school to give women’s basketball the same support it gave men’s sports, Chapin said.

“Although she provided exceptional leadership to the team and her staff on and off the court and was committed to excellence in every facet of its women’s basketball program, she was forced to resign solely because of her unwavering insistence that the institution put women’s basketball on an equal footing with the athletic resources and opportunities provided to men at the university.”

Barns left the program after video surfaced showing her slapping an assistant coach during a game. One slap was onto a clipboard, the other on the assistant’s shoulder.

Chapin called it “flimsy evidence.”

An SDSU spokesperson said the school would not comment on pending or ongoing litigation.

“As a result, her coaching career and her reputation have suffered irreparable damage,” Chapin said. “She is filing this action to ensure her side of the story is heard, and that SDSU is held accountable for its misconduct and the lasting harm that has resulted from it.”

SAN DIEGO – Former San Diego State University women’s basketball coach Beth Burns said the school forced her to retire and she plans to challenge the termination.

Burns’ attorney Ed Chapin told Fox5 Tuesday that SDSU forced Burns to retire solely because of one piece of video that shows her slapping an assistant coach during a game last season.

The video shows her slap once downward onto a clipboard held by the assistant. A second slap lands on the shoulder of the assistant.  Both actions happened during the heat of a game while Burns appeared to be looking onto the court and not at the assistant.

The Aztecs announced Burns had retired in April, without saying why. This was after she had led the the team to a school-record 27 wins in her 16th season as head coach.

Chapin said Burns is in the process of disputing the termination, but has not filed a complaint or a lawsuit.

The basketball assistant in question received a $250,000 settlement from the college after his one-year contract did not get renewed.

The former coach’s attorney denied our request to speak with Burns.

SAN DIEGO – The winningest coach in San Diego State University women’s basketball history retired Tuesday.

beth-burnsAztecs athlete director Jim Sterk announced that Beth Burns decided to call it a career after 16 seasons.

She racked up 295 victories while winning six conference championships.

A statement from Burns was posted on the team’s website:

“I am so appreciative of the many people who have supported our program throughout this time. I have had the privilege of coaching many terrific young women and will continue to enjoy following their successes. I would also like to give a special thank you to all of my associate and assistant coaches and staff who have given their hearts to make Aztec basketball great. Thank you, San Diego.”

Under Burns’ reign as head coach, SDSU qualified seven times for the NCAA tournament and made a Sweet 16 appearance in 2010.

“Beth Burns has elevated the women’s basketball program to a level where it competes for championships on an annual basis,” Sterk said. “The San Diego State community appreciates her hard work and dedication over the years in making the Aztecs a consistent winner. We will begin a national search for her replacement immediately.”

Associate head coach Jualeah Woods will serve as interim head coach.

The announcement seemed abrupt as Burns wasn’t available to talk to the media Tuesday.  The successful head coach is in her 50s and still has extreme passion for the game.

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