SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – A court battle is brewing at West High. Former head basketball coach Bob Lyman was benched last year after being diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition. Now he’s suing to get his job back.
In a lawsuit filed Thursday, Lyman claims the principal, Parley Jacobs, violated the Family Medical Leave Act when he wouldn't reinstate Lyman as head coach after taking medical leave.
Lyman who was also a full-time teacher for 29 years, resigned last October after suffering from arrhythmias. But according to the lawsuit he told the principal “his health condition may improve in the future and that he wanted to continue to coach”.
After last year's season, Lyman's health did improve, but according to the documents, the district claimed coaching positions are not covered by the FMLA and the principal told Lyman to “stay positive and keep his chin up, but he was not going to reinstate him.”
Neither the school district nor Lyman's attorney are commenting on the lawsuit. But Lyman's attorney maintains FMLA “includes not only teachers but also athletic coaches.”
Parents of West High students tell ABC4 their sympathies lie with the man once named coach of the year.
“If he took medical leave and it was justified they should give him his job,” said Lynn Marchante.
“Every body's been in a situation where they had medical situations come up and I think they should let the guy work,” said Brice Woodbury.
The lawsuit documents show only the coach's side of what happened, the district has yet to file a response. But in his lawsuit Lyman is asking for lost wages, attorney fees and of course his old job back on the basketball courts of West High.