WATERVILLE — Attorneys for Colby College and five female athletics coaches said Friday they have reached a settlement stemming from a discrimination complaint over fair pay and working conditions.

Lawyers representing Colby College and the coaches released a joint statement that said complaints filed by the coaches have been settled “to the mutual satisfaction of all parties.”

Six female head coaches filed a Complaint of Discrimination in Employment complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission in March 2021.

The six head coaches are Terren Allen, softball; Tracey Cote, Nordic skiing; Karen Henning, women’s lacrosse; Kristin Shaw, women’s soccer; Kelly Terwilliger, field hockey; and Holley Tyng, women’s ice hockey. Tyng withdrew in April 2021, WCSH-TV reported.

The coaches said they were paid unequally compared to male coaches, in violation of Title IX and other federal and state laws “enacted to end gender discrimination in all educational programs, including coaching or athletics generally,” Kelly Hoffman, the attorney representing the coaches, said at the time. They also said medical support and athletic facilities were not distributed equally between men’s and women’s sports.

In the complaint, the coaches claimed that when confronted with salary discrepancies between male and female coaches, Colby officials said male coaches received more robust compensation because they were better at negotiating higher salary and benefits packages. The complaints also alleged the women were told male coaches have a higher “market value.”

No salaries were cited in any of the complaints, but several anecdotal examples were included.

Field hockey Head Coach Kelly Terwilliger alleged she was paid $60,000 per year less than some male Colby coaches.


Karen Henning, head women’s lacrosse coach since 2007, stated in her complaint that there were male coaches at Colby who made “at least $15,000 or more than I do, but do not have my history of success in athletics.”

Henning’s teams, at the time, had participated in the NCAA Division III women’s lacrosse quarterfinals four times and reached the Sweet 16 three times.

Henning specifically cited the 2017 NCAA tournament. Her team had won the New England Small College Athletic Conference championship, and with it, the right to host an NCAA tournament regional.

It was a right, the complaint said, that Colby declined to secure because of conflicts with a collegiate men’s baseball game.

“Playing at home would have a home field advantage, not required us to travel, and allowed us to play a less competitive opponent, none of which happened,” Henning’s statement said. “Colby College failed to host the tournament because of a competing men’s baseball tournament. For all practical purposes, Colby College’s failure to host the tournament was an unreasonable obstacle put in the way of our team’s success.”

The statement from the lawyers Friday said the complaints have been “resolved constructively and amicable.” It did not provide specifics.

Press Herald staff contributed to this story.

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