Iowa college accused of unfairly firing soccer coach and his wife

By: - August 26, 2021 2:39 pm

The wife of a fired soccer coach claims she was unjustly discriminated against by Hawkeye Community College after voicing support for her husband.(Photo by Md Mahdi, via Unsplash)

The wife of a fired soccer coach is taking the Iowa Civil Rights Commission to court, claiming it unjustly dismissed her complaint that she was fired by Hawkeye Community College after voicing support for her husband.

Lawyers for Maren Carroll, the wife of Robert Carroll, are seeking judicial review of the commission’s actions. In the lawsuit against the commission, her lawyers claim the Waterloo community college fired former soccer coach Robert Carroll last year and then fired his wife, Maren, from her job as head athletic trainer due to her “involvement in attempting to stop the discrimination against her husband.”

Maren Carroll claims the discrimination against both her and her husband was based on her husband’s national origin – he is British – and that her dismissal was triggered by her efforts to “clear her husband’s name” and “because she was married to him.”

The lawsuit also indicates that, like his wife, Robert Carroll filed a complaint with the commission in 2020, alleging that he, too, was the victim of discrimination at the college.

As part of Robert Carroll’s complaint to the commission, he alleges that in March 2020, after returning from a week-long visit to Great Britain, he was fired by the school. He claims he came under scrutiny at Hawkeye for not being present during all of his team’s practices, despite the fact that other coaches don’t attend the majority of their team’s practices.

At a public hearing that was held in the wake of his firing, Hawkeye’s board of trustees discussed Robert Carroll’s termination letter. According to the Waterloo Courier, the letter alleged Carroll would routinely show up unannounced at the homes of athletes for reasons unrelated to his coaching duties, and that he attempted to purchase a narcotic medication from one student athlete, an allegation he denied.

Maren Carroll’s lawsuit, filed in Polk County District Court, alleges that her husband “was said to have been inappropriate with students and/or players,” and that other coaches have, on multiple occasions, engaged in “sexual relations with students or players” and still are employed.

Maren Carroll is asking the court to reverse the commission’s decision to dismiss her complaint and order the panel to reopen her case.

Neither the commission nor Hawkeye Community College have filed a response to the lawsuit.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.