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She Said, They Said: Fired OU Basketball Coach Says She’s Still Searching For Answers

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ROCHESTER (WWJ) Oakland University officials say Beckie Francis physically and emotionally abused players on her woman’s basketball team — obsessed about their weight, shamed and humiliated them, and pushed her Christian beliefs on them.

She says it’s not true.

Her attorney Deb Gordon talked to WWJ Newsradio Monday, saying Francis was a stellar coach who wants to get back to doing what she loves.

“She was very devastated and disappointed to lose her position at Oakland University,” Gordon said.

Gordon says Francis is speaking out because she wants to return to coaching, but has found it difficult because of the allegations against her.

OU fired Francis amid allegations that she berated players and staff for gaining any weight, made them take pictures in sports bras and displayed them to shame them over their weight. Francis also allegedly forced players to go to church in order to play and pushed her religious views on them.

Her firing was announced the same day her husband, then-university President Gary Russi, announced his retirement.

The university told the media they held two lengthy meetings with Francis where they explained why they were suspending her. She responded with a long list of reasons why she said she shouldn’t be suspended; then she was fired. 

Francis now says she’s spent every day in the six months trying to figure out why she was fired. Her attorney, Deborah Gordon says the University’s allegations are not true.

“Becky Francis never discriminated against anybody based on religion, nor was she ever concerned about people’s weight other than that she wanted them to be fit,” Gordon said. “She’s spoken out because she wanted to clear up all the misinformation that’s been out there about her, which has been very unfortunate.”

Francis is suing the university.

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