Bessie Stockard, former women's basketball coach at the University of the District of Columbia, has filed a civil suit in D.C. Superior Court seeking $3.75 million and reinstatement as coach.
Stockard alleges that she was falsely accused of misappropriating funds and that her employment as coach was wrongfully terminated last year.
Stockard is suing Orby Moss, UDC's athletic director; Emma Best, UDC's assistant athletic director; the UDC Board of Trustees and the D.C. government for libel and slander, breach of contract, interference with contract, sex discrimination, and intentional infliction of physical and emotional distress.
In a suit filed March 26, 1982, Stockard alleges that on March 25, 1981, Moss falsely accused her of misappropriating funds and fired her as coach. She alleges that two weeks earlier Moss had assured her she would continue as coach for the 1981-82 season.
Stockard remains at UDC as an associate professor in the physical education department, which is separate from the athletic department.
In a related matter, the D.C. Office of Human Rights said in an initial determination April 7 that it found probable cause to believe that Stockard's gender was a factor in the nonrenewal of her contract. It is the first step in a process that is followed by conciliation attempts and then by a public hearing.
John Clifford, attorney for Stockard, said neither he nor his client would comment on the suit at this time.
"I don't feel nervous because I feel everything I said was the truth," Best said when asked to comment on the suit.
Moss said he could not comment, on the advice of counsel.
John Britton, a spokesman for UDC, said that Moss and the university had received an extension for replying to the suit because of UDC's participation in the recent NCAA Division II men's basketball tournament, which the Firebirds won. Cary Pollock, an assistant corporation counsel, said the city government also had received an extension. Otherwise, he said, he had no comment because the case was in litigation.