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Originally published July 10, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 13, 2007 at 12:04 PM

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Vivas wins suit against Fresno St.

Lindy Vivas, a former Fresno State volleyball coach, was awarded $5.852 million in damages Monday by a jury that ruled the school discriminated...

FRESNO, Calif. — Lindy Vivas, a former Fresno State volleyball coach, was awarded $5.852 million in damages Monday by a jury that ruled the school discriminated against her.

Vivas, 50, had sued Fresno State for $4.1 million, alleging the school did not renew her contract in 2004 because of her perceived sexual orientation and her speaking up on behalf of female athletes.

Vivas had a 263-167 record in 14 seasons at Fresno State. She coached Washington for four seasons, from 1984 to 1987, and had a 72-60 record.

Fresno State officials said they would appeal. In a statement, they said, "We're extremely disappointed that the jury did not see that the university's actions in this matter were based solely on Ms. Vivas' job performance and her unwillingness to improve the volleyball program."

Vivas said, "The jury saw exactly what was happening. They [school officials] were targeting me, but what keeps getting lost in all this was there were 14 student-athletes who were caught in the crossfire."

The award, which took into account Vivas' back wages, future lost pay and emotional distress, is likely the largest granted to a coach suing for retaliation under Title IX, a federal law requiring gender equity, said her lawyer, Dan Siegel.

"Fresno State wants to be a big-time athletic power, but it has to start acting like one. That means treating men and women the same," Siegel said.

"This is a complete vindication of her and who Lindy is as a person, as a coach and what she had to live with as a result of their actions."

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