MISSOULA — Former University of Montana Lady Griz head basketball coach Shannon Schweyen has filed a lawsuit against the University of Montana for sex discrimination, according to court documents filed last week in federal court in Missoula.

The Daily Montanan was the first to report the news Monday afternoon. The only defendant listed on the lawsuit is UM. Schweyen is asking that UM either reinstate her or pay her for lost back pay and front pay.

In the lawsuit, Schweyen, an alumnae of UM and former Lady Griz player, alleges that UM wrongly terminated her in April 2020 after two players opted to transfer out of the program. She was initially hired by current UM athletics director Kent Haslam in 2016 following the retirement of longtime head coach Robin Selvig, who she coached under for 24 years. Haslam is named multiple times in the lawsuit but is not listed as a defendant. Schweyen was given a three-year contract with a base salary of $130,000. 

The lawsuit alleges that UM violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which specifically prohibits employment discrimination. 

“UM disagrees with the allegations in the complaint. UM will defend the allegations in the appropriate forum," UM spokesperson Dave Kuntz said in an email Monday night.

The lawsuit notes that current Montana men's basketball head coach Travis DeCuire was hired just before Schweyen in the summer of 2016, and he was given a base salary of $155,000.

“UM’s difference in treatment between Coach DeCuire and Coach Schweyen regarding their respective starting salaries reflects an intent and motive to discriminate against Schweyen based on sex," the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also alleges that Haslam did not want to hire Schweyen initially, among other accusations. 

Lance Hartzler covers Griz men's basketball and prep sports for the Missoulian. Follow him on Twitter at @lance_hartz or shoot him an email at Lance.Hartzler@406mtsports.com.

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