UH Is Being Sued For Hiring Dana Holgorsen

Dr. Kevin Simms

Simms confronts Tilman Fertitta (photo by Mario Puente)

Dr. Kevin Simms has filed suit in Harris County against the University of Houston. His suit claims employment discrimination under Texas Labor Code Chapter 21 after UH hired Dana Holgorsen.
Specifically, Simms filed the claim because “African-American candidates, including Dr. Kevin Simms (sic) were not afforded an opportunity to apply for the Head Football coaching position at the University of Houston.”
You may recall that Simms complained about the hiring process at Dana Holgorsen’s introductory press conference in January.
“I can tell you this, at the University of Houston, we have a color-blind process, and if we decide to go after somebody, we go after them,” Tilman Fertitta said in January. “I don’t care if they’re white or black or Chinese or Indian.”
Simms’ suit goes on to say that “clearly better qualified African-Americans (sic) candidates not only (sic) were unable to apply, interview or become the successful candidate.”

Currently, Houston has one of the most diverse rosters of head coaches in the country.

The lawsuit notes that UH did not post the job and that Dana Holgorsen agreed to terms with UH only three days after Major Applewhite was terminated. This is true – Holgorsen signed his MOU on January 2nd.
The suit makes special note of the January 7th press conference for the hiring of “Dana Holgersen (sic), Caucasian.” The claim also says that “Mr. Holgersen (sic) signed a twenty million contract (sic) for a five-year deal.”
The lawsuit goes on to say that “Chairman, (sic) Tilman Fertitta, Caucasian, was heard boasting that he personally went after Mr. Holgersen (sic).” Tilman made it clear that he was focused on hiring Holgorsen from the start.
Simms claims that he has “over thirty years of coaching experience and is clearly more qualified than Dana Holgersen (sic).” Proof of Simms’ coaching career could not be found.
But he is listed as the CEO for US National Healthcare Training Services, the director of the African American Coaches Association, and the All American Coaches Association. Formerly, he was the director of the National African American Forum, All American Mandatory Solutions Project, Minority Education Academic Determination, and the Minority Action Group.
And, apparently, he coaches!
Simms ran for mayor of Houston in 2011, finishing 5th in a six-person race.

Kevin Simms

photo by Mario Puente

The University of Houston was the first FBS school in Texas to hire a black head football coach (also named Kevin!). Jessie Kenlaw was hired as women’s basketball coach in 1990 and UH hired Alvin Brooks as head basketball coach in 1993. UH is one of the very few FBS schools to have hired black coaches in the three major sports.
Currently, Houston has one of the most diverse rosters of head coaches in the country. Nine of UH’s 18 UH teams have minorities as head coaches. The school’s three best programs (men’s basketball, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field) are coached by minorities – Kelvin Sampson is Lumbee Native American and Leroy Burrell is African American.
Other entertaining tidbits from the frivolous lawsuit:
“University of Houston continues to bypass African Americans in applying and being considered for the head football coach position as it does not adhere to the job posting and advertising requirements. Thus, the University violate (sic) Texas Labor Code by failing to hire qualified black candidate, (sic) Dr. Kevin Simms in the Head football coaching position. As a result, (sic) Plaintiff, (sic) suffered injuries and damages.”
The suit contends that “University of Houston., (sic) violated Texas Labor Code and the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act when it refused to because of his race, African American, allow Dr. Kevin Simms and other qualified African American candidates to apply, interview, and hire Dr. Kevin Simms.”
I’m not a lawyer but it seems like he’s upset that Dr. Simms was not allowed to hire Dr. Simms.
“Certainly, Dr. Simms should have been the successful candidate for the Head Football Coaching position.”
Simms seeks compensatory damages for “loss (sic) wages, loss (sic) earning capacity, future pecuniary losses, emotional pain, suffering, inconvenient (sic), mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other non-pecuniary losses.”
Simms also wants ‘actual’ damages including “back pay and front pay and loss of all employment benefits.” He also wants damages “for the injuries (sic) Mental Anguish suffered by Dr. Simms past, present and future” as well as “Mental anguish sustained by Dr. Simms past, present, and future.”

Mental Anguish – both suffered and sustained

I’m not sure why he believes he should get damages for the pain that “Mental Anguish suffered.”
The plaintiff is also seeking damages “totaling the salary Dana Holgersen (sic) received from the University of Houston and all benefits.” He would like to be compensated based on the “severity of conduct of Defendant during his employment and/ or hospitalization.”
Much of this is hard to understand but I’m at a loss on the last one.
The plaintiff “respectfully request (sic) a jury trial.”
Read the entire complaint here. Please note: all spelling, grammar, and “that don’t make no sense” issues originate in the complaint.