NICHOLASVILLE — A Jessamine Circuit Court jury awarded a former women's basketball coach nearly $400,000 last week in a civil trial against Asbury University in Wilmore.
Debi Powell won the case in a unanimous verdict at the end of the trial in Nicholasville, said her attorney, Debra Ann Doss.
The jury awarded Powell $300,000 for humiliation, embarrassment and emotional distress, plus $88,325 in back wages and benefits, her attorney said.
"She felt finally the truth had come out and that she had been vindicated," Doss said.
Debra Dawahare and Leila O'Carra, the attorneys representing the university, could not be immediately reached for comment.
At the time Powell filed the suit, the Christian liberal-arts school in Wilmore was known as Asbury College. It changed its name to Asbury University in 2010.
Powell was fired as the women's head basketball coach in 2008. She had been head coach for six years and an assistant coach for three.
Powell said she was retaliated against and terminated as a result of having made gender- discrimination complaints within the athletic department, Doss said.
"She had complained that her workload and her job assignment were excessive and conflicted with her ability to be head basketball coach for the women," Doss said. "And one of her complaints was they refused to modify her job in any way, whereas they did modify and accommodate male coaches who requested modifications."
The jury found that "she was retaliated against for making good-faith complaints of gender discrimination," Doss said.
The college had alleged that Powell had engaged in inappropriate conduct with an assistant coach, "even though it amounted to holding hands in prayer and touching her on the shoulder in consolation while her (assistant) coach was crying about something," Doss said.
Powell is now employed at the Fayette County Detention Center, Doss said.