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3 former UMD coaches expected to announce lawsuit against school Monday

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Three former coaches at the University of Minnesota Duluth are expected to announce a lawsuit claiming discrimination against the school during a news conference in Eden Prairie Monday.

Former Bulldogs women's hockey coach Shannon Miller, former softball coach Jen Banford and former women's basketball coach Annette Wiles have each received right-to-sue letters from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Duluth News Tribune reported last week that the coaches are being represented by attorneys Dan Siegel, Anne Butterfield Weills, and Donald Chance Mark, Jr.

Monday afternoon's press conference is scheduled to be held at the law firm of Fafinski Mark & Johnson in Eden Prairie.

Miller spent more than 16 years leading the Bulldogs women's hockey program. She was informed last December that her contract would not be renewed, citing a $4.5 million deficit. Miller coached the Bulldogs to five NCAA national championships in her 16 years. She has publicly accused UMD of discrimination based on her gender and sexual orientation.

Banford was told at the same time as the rest of Miller's staff that she also wouldn't be brought back as the team's director of hockey operations. She was offered a one-year contract to remain as the Bulldogs softball coach, but she declined it.

After seven seasons, Wiles resigned in June citing an unhealthy work environment.

Chancellor Lendley Black said in an e-mail statement to FOX 9, "We are committed to fostering a campus that is welcoming to all individuals. I support the leadership, direction, and positive momentum of UMD Bulldog athletics."

The statement also included this:

"We are aware that there is a press conference on Monday and are not in a position to comment about what the individuals or their lawyers will discuss there. We have fully cooperated with an internal review of the complaints raised, and dispute the broad claims of discrimination."

Siegel has won two of the largest Title IX judgements ever handed down involving fired coaches.

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