Exclusive: Ex-head golf coach files age discrimination lawsuit against TCU

By STEVEN JOHNSON
Updated July 01, 2024 3:14 PM

A disagreement that had been brewing for more than a year is now a lawsuit that extends far beyond age discrimination and includes an allegation of rape. 

On Monday, former TCU men’s golf coach Bill Montigel filed an age discrimination lawsuit against the university where he worked since the 1980s. The civil case was filed by Dallas-based attorney Rogge Dunn.  

The crux of the 30-page lawsuit is that Montigel’s contract was not renewed in the spring of 2023 because he was 68.  

Other allegations in the lawsuit include charges that TCU athletic director Jeremiah  Donati was retaliatory against Montigel, and endorsed “an ‘Animal House’ atmosphere.”  

The lawsuit alleges Donati’s department “does not care about discrimination or sexual harassment.” Examples of this include Montigel alleging that:  

“At the NCAA basketball tournament in Denver in March of 2023, a Frog Club fundraiser, was accused of raping a female co-worker who woke up in his hotel bed not knowing how she got there. She reported the incident to the Colorado Police. Both Donati  and (TCU associate athletic director for special projects) Michael Levy were present at the Denver tournament when this improper sexual harassment occurred.”  

Donati did not respond to a request for comment about this suit.  

The spokesperson for the TCU athletic department did not respond to request for comment. 

According to people familiar with the alleged incident in March of 2023, a member of the  TCU athletics administration was accused of misconduct and was immediately fired. According to the Denver Police Department, there is no report involving any member of the TCU staff in that window when TCU played in the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.  

This the most damning allegation in the lawsuit. Other allegations include:  

▪ “A leader in the athletic department — who was married — engaged in sexual relations with the wife of a highly successful TCU coach, leading to that coach leaving TCU.”  

▪ “A senior athletic department official was caught in a press box in a compromising position with a female who was senior associate athletic director of student services.”  

▪ “At the Big 12 basketball tournament in March of 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri, a high-level member of Donati’s staff got falling down drunk, became belligerent with hotel staff because he lost his room key, and the hotel staff called security.  

“This person urinated in his pants, was completely out of it, and had to be carried back to his room. These on the job drunken episodes were not uncommon for that person. Donati was present at the Kansas City tournament and took no disciplinary action against that  person who reported directly to Donati.”  

Montigel was effectively told he would not be returning to TCU as men’s golf coach after the conclusion of the 2022-23 season. He spent the 2023-24 season as the associate head coach at the University of California-Davis.  

Montigel was 68 when he left TCU. At the time of his exit TCU was still one of the better  NCAA men’s golf programs.  

His exit from the athletic department coincided with the departures of other significant coaches, including football coach Gary Patterson, baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle, volleyball coach Jill Kramer and track and field coach Daryl Anderson.  

Montigel did not want to retire. The two sides discussed potential compensation packages but no agreement was reached.  

“I am pursuing the lawsuit on behalf of all older employees who have faced age discrimination in the workplace. I filed this lawsuit to hold TCU accountable for its actions,” Montigel said in a statement. “My passion is coaching students about golf and life. I have lots of gas left in my tank. 

“Donati assumed that just because I was 68 that I could no longer do my job — nothing could be further from the truth. It’s not easy to sue a school you love, but I want to shine a light on age discrimination and retaliation in TCU’s athletic department.”  

This story was originally published July 1, 2024, 2:46 PM. 

MAC ENGEL
817-390-7760

Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist who has covered sports since the dawn of man;  Cowboys, TCU, Stars, Rangers, Mavericks, etc. Olympics. Movies. Concerts. Books. He  combines dry wit with 1st-person reporting to complement an annoying personality.

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