A federal appeals court has upheld a court decision against two former University of Delaware volleyball coaches who claimed they were fired based on age and sexual orientation.

An appellate court panel in Philadelphia on Wednesday agreed with a federal judge in Wilmington that there were multiple nondiscriminatory reasons for the university's firing of Bonnie Kenny and Cindy Gregory. The panel also agreed that Kenny and Gregory had failed to show that the multiple, consistent reasons cited by the school for replacing them were a mere pretext for age or sexual orientation discrimination.

Kenny and Gregory, a lesbian couple in their 50s, were married in 2013.

They were fired in 2016 following three losing seasons and complaints about abusing and mistreating players.

The judge said university officials consistently maintained that athletic director Chrissi Rawak fired the coaches because complaints, player surveys and her own observations led her to conclude that they had behaved unprofessionally with athletes.

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