BCSP: The Banner of Black College Sports

Return to Front Page


UNDER THE BANNER
What's Going On In and Around Black College Sports


BAHHUR FIRED, TO SUE CAU:

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, fifth-year Clark Atlanta head football coach Ted Bahhur, fired last Tuesday in the midst of a 3-3 start, filed a racial-discrimination complaint Friday with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging that CAU President Carlton Brown and Athletics Director Tamica Jones fired him because of the color of his skin.

According to the AJC story, Bahhur's attorney, Ed Gadrix, said they plan to file a federal lawsuit when the EEOC investigation is concluded.

Gadrix said Bahhur's petition before the EEOC documents "a wide series of events that have taken place that have tried to force him out on racial grounds." Bahhur is Palestinian. Brown and Jones are black.

Efforts by the BCSP to reach Bahhur, Brown and Jones were unsuccessful.

Clark Atlanta initially announced the firing in a short-worded Media Advisory last Tuesday evening saying Bahhur was relieved of his duties immediately and was being replaced by assistant Keith Higdon on an interim basis. Later Tuesday night the CAU Office of Marketing and Communications released an official statement of the firing with a summary of interim coach Higdon's accomplishments along with quotes from Higdon and Brown on Higdon's new assignment.

The official statement did not outline the reason for the firing and included a statement by Jones of thanks to Bahhur.

On Thursday, Jones told the AJC in reference to the firing that "expectations for the team are not W's and L's as they are that we have a responsibility to commit to our young men, as well. That's where we were most lacking."

Bahhur alleges in the AJC story that he was asked questions in meetings and embarrassed by Brown and Jones in ways that black coaches were not. Bahhur reportedly also took exception to Jones' questions about his commitment to the players. He said graduation rates improved during his tenure, estimating that 15 of the roughly 25 seniors graduated last spring, two more have since completed requirements and an additional two are on track to complete degree work this spring.

Bahhur said he has also raised money for renovated facilities, including the locker room, weight room and coaches office.

CAU had made steady progress towards becoming a contender in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference during Bahhur's tenure. The Panthers, who finished 6-5 overall last season, their first winning season since 1991, were picked to finish fourth in this year's preseason poll by SIAC coaches. Bahhur's team began this season with three straight wins before losing three straight games. The firing came three days after a 31-13 homecoming loss to Kentucky State.

Bahhur compiled a 20-29 overall record during his time leading the CAU grid program. Prior to his hiring in 2005, CAU had lost 39 of its last 43 games.

According to the offical statement, Higdon has served for five years as an assistant to Bahhur in a variety of roles including assistant head coach, defensive backs coach recruiting coordinator and pro liaison. He has a 15-year coaching career including a stint at Tuskegee from 1998 to 2004.

© 2009 Azeez Communications, Inc.