Ex-Lafayette softball coach sues over firing

By Patsy R. Brumfield/Daily Journal

OXFORD – Lafayette County schools’ former softball coach filed a federal lawsuit today accusing the district and two officials of discrimination.

Catherine Papagolos was fired as head softball coach, allegedly after she confronted the district’s athletic director about what she termed “inequalities plaguing women athletes and coaches.”

The school board’s attorney, Gray Tollison, reacted to news of the lawsuit by saying, “The Lafayette County School District will vigorously defend itself against any and all allegations brought in court. The facts will show that the claims are without merit.”

Papagolos’s attorney, Joseph Murray II of Ripley, bases her complaint on federal statutes guaranteeing equitable pay for females holding jobs similar to male counterparts, protection against retaliation, gender discrimination and age discrimination.

He also claims her free speech and due process rights were violated.

Asking for a jury trial, Papagolos asks the court for actual, compensatory and punitive damages against the defendants, the Lafayette County School District, board member Michael McPhail officially and individually, and Jeff Nelson, district athletic director, officially and individually.

• For more details, read Wednesday’s Daily Journal Sports.