SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame's head swimming coach has resigned one week after a federal judge dismissed a gender discrimination lawsuit that had accused him of degrading and demoting a female assistant because of her pregnancy.
The university announced Monday that Michael Litzinger had resigned from the school's swimming program and would retire from the sport. The school said associate head coach Aaron Bell is also “no longer with the team."
A meet scheduled for this weekend was canceled and the school is making “an interim plan designed to allow our student-athletes to compete this year,” the school said.
Litzinger’s resignation came days before the team’s first scheduled meet of the season and a week after a lawsuit against the school, brought by one of Litzinger’s former assistant coaches, was dismissed by a federal judge at the request of both parties, the South Bend Tribune reported.
The federal lawsuit filed in May by former assistant coach April Jensen accused Notre Dame and Litzinger of gender discrimination, Title IX violations and retaliation. She claimed Litzinger criticized, ignored and was generally unsupportive of her when she was pregnant in 2019.
Her suit alleged Litzinger told her “nobody cares what you went through” regarding her pregnancy and that her contract was not renewed when she brought her concerns to administrators in the athletic department.
A judge dismissed the lawsuit Sept. 27, in a mutual agreement between both parties, according to court documents. Thomas Newkirk, an attorney who represented Jensen in the case, declined to comment.
Litzinger, who was hired at Notre Dame in 2015 after a career filled with multiple stops at different schools, told the South Bend Tribune on Tuesday that his decision to resign was “absolutely not" related to the lawsuit.
“I’ve got a lot of goals and opportunities in front of me that are not related to the sport and I’m going to take advantage of those,” he said, without saying what those opportunities were.