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UMD's 'LGBT-friendly' label pulled for dismissal of women's hockey coach

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The University of Minnesota Duluth's decision to not renew the contract of women's hockey coach Shannon Miller has cost the school an endorsement.

Campus Pride, a national LGBT student advocacy group, won't be renewing UMD's status as a top-rated "LGBT-friendly" university in light of the dismissal, according to a release from the non-profit.

The group had awarded UMD the designation in 2013 and 2014.

They point out that Miller, who is openly gay, became the "most successful NCAA women's hockey coach" during her run, with 11 Frozen Four tournament wins and five NCAA Division I national championships.

The Duluth News Tribune says Miller's coaching staff, made up of three women, are all either gay or bisexual. They were also let go.

The university has said her dismissal was a cost-cutting move – Miller's salary was at $207,000 a year.

But Campus Pride suggests otherwise, quoting Angela Nichols – founding director of UMD's GLBT Services Office – who said the firing didn't surprise her.

“The climate, particularly in Athletics, has taken a turn for the worse and has tarnished UMD’s hard-earned reputation (as a gay-friendly school),” she said.

For its part, UMD said today it is "deeply disappointed" by Campus Pride's decision, the paper reports.

Meanwhile, Miller has hired attorneys and is reportedly considering legal action against the school.

She's described as "the nation's highest-paid women's hockey coach," but the Bulldogs may have seen a decline in recent years. The Star Tribune notes the women's hockey team hasn't made the NCAA tournament field since 2011.

She's expected to finish out the season.

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