Former Pitt strength coach suing over alleged age, race discrimination

By Stephen Thompson, Assistant Sports Editor

Former Pitt strength and conditioning coach Tim Beltz filed a civil lawsuit Friday against the University of Pittsburgh for alleged age and race discrimination, according to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and originally obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Beltz, described in the civil complaint as a Caucasian man older than 40 years old, served as a strength coach for Pitt Athletics from 1999 to 2018 until administration hired Kevin Stallings who, according to the complaint, “insisted” that current strength coach Garry Christopher be hired to handle all men’s basketball training. 

Christopher, described in the complaint as an African American man in his 20s, worked with Stallings’ men’s basketball program at Vanderbilt for three years before Stallings made the move to Pittsburgh in 2018.

Beltz was then reassigned solely to the women’s basketball program under head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio, but McConnell-Serio was fired after the following season and replaced by current head coach Lance White.

Following the addition of White in April 2018, Pitt athletics administration informed Beltz that he would be terminated at the end of June and that the women’s basketball program was free to hire its own strength and conditioning coach. Beltz claims administrators told him not to apply for the position, but that White complimented his job performance and said he wanted to retain Beltz, but had to “check with the administration.”

Then, in May, administrators allegedly told Beltz that White “wanted to go in a different direction,” and hired a new strength and conditioning coach 20 years Beltz’s junior. Furthermore, Beltz claims that the University retained all African-American strength and conditioning coaches following his termination.

The complaint also identifies a number of complaints Beltz had concerning Christopher in relation to the cleanliness of weight rooms, team performance and roster turnover, to which he claims his superiors were indifferent.

Beltz is asking for compensation in the form of the value of wages and benefits he would have received had he not been fired, in addition to punitive damages determined in trial and compensation for the cost of litigation from the University.

Pitt declined Sunday night to comment on the litigation.

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