NM Basketball Coach Denied Job & Says It’s Because ‘She’s No Longer Gay’
Imagine applying for and landing your dream job, only to be told you can’t have it because of your sexual preference.
Camille LeNoir, the former second-round draft pick of the Washington Mystics, had just entered the competitive world of coaching college basketball and was excited when her former college coach offered her an assistant position on his staff at New Mexico State University.
Two days before she was to board a plane for New Mexico, she received a disturbing phone call from Aggies’ coach, Mark Trakh, who watched an online video of her back in 2011, where she discussed her playing career, her religious faith and her sexuality. For the majority of her playing career, LeNoir identified as being gay. That has since changed, however, and in that video she said homosexuality was “wrong” and “not worth losing your soul over.”
“Trakh retracted the job offer, LeNoir said, and advised her to remove the video if she ever wanted to work in college basketball. LeNoir said she was devastated. She felt she could be an effective coach regardless of what she’d said in that video.
“I felt the job was taken away because of my heterosexuality,” LeNoir, 31, said in a recent interview.
LeNoir is suing New Mexico State in U.S. District Court, saying she was discriminated against because of her religious beliefs and sexual identity. New Mexico State acknowledges in court filings that Trakh rescinded the offer but denies any discrimination charges. A federal judge in California allowed the lawsuit to move forward and will preside over a unique case that spans sport, religion and sexuality, and provides a small window into the culture surrounding women’s basketball.
In court filings, New Mexico State says that LeNoir’s feelings about homosexuality shared in the video “would have had an adverse impact” on her “ability to effectively coach and recruit players who identify as LGBT.”
Trakh left New Mexico State in April to return to USC. A spokesperson for the school said they were unable to comment due to pending litigation.