Originally created 02/22/98

Ex-coach sues school, officials



SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- A former coach for Spartanburg Methodist College is moving his fight from the basketball court to federal court.

Scott Rigot has filed a lawsuit against the college and three current and former officials, alleging he was fired in June 1996 because he opposed a college policy that ordered him to recruit white basketball players for his team, which was all black.

Rigot, who is white, asks for actual and punitive damages, but does not specify an amount. He now lives in Alabama, where he works as an assistant basketball coach for the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Rigot, who worked at Spartanburg Methodist for six years, was the most successful basketball coach in the school's history.

The Pioneers had a 158-31 record during his tenure.

Ninety-seven percent of Rigot's athletes who completed their eligibility transferred to four-year colleges. Seventy-two percent of them signed with NCAA Division I programs.