Report: Fresno State almost fired men’s basketball coach in 2023. He claimed racial discrimination.

The men’s basketball coach was reportedly nearly fired last year and held the university off by alleging racism.

Fresno State Basketball Head Coach Justin Hutson was nearly fired last season, according to a report from McClatchy. 

Hutson kept his job and will finish out his contract with the university this year because he alleged that Fresno State has discriminated against him because of his race. 


The big picture: Mired amid an 11-20 record last year, the university reportedly was set to part ways with Hutson following the Mountain West Tournament and pay him 80 percent of his salary for the final remaining year on his contract, coming out to around $440,000. 

  • But Hutson’s attorneys sent a letter to University President Saul Jimenez-Sandoval the day before the conference tournament alleging racial discrimination, according to McClatchy. 
  • The letter threatened legal action against Fresno State, and the university launched an investigation that is still ongoing. 
  • Hutson argued the university did not financially support his program because he is Black. 

By the numbers: Fresno State spent $551,900 in 2023-2023 and budgeted $775,000 for this season. 

  • The university spent around $580,000 on the program in 2018-2019, $515,000 in 2019-2020, $324,000 in 2020-2021 when it was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and $618,000 in 2021-2022. 
  • Men’s basketball only ranks behind football in financial support. 

What we’re watching: With Hutson’s contract expiring at the end of the season after six years at Fresno State, the university will be in the clear to move on without having to fire him. 

  • Fresno State’s season could end any day now, depending on how the team performs in the Mountain West Tournament. 
  • The Bulldogs surprised fans on Wednesday, defeating Wyoming to advance to the quarterfinals on Thursday, where they will face No. 1 seed Utah State. 
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