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GUOKAS' TESTIMONY CONTRADICTS SCHOLZ'S ASSISTANT COACH TITLE
Published January 31, 1996
Former Magic Coach Matt Guokas took the stand for nearly five hours yesterday in the discrimination suit filed by former employee George Scholz. Scholz has accused the Magic of firing him to hire a black assistant coach. According to this morning's ORLANDO SENTINEL, Guokas was "portrayed in earlier testimony as an ally" of Scholz, but he "proved otherwise ... when he denied some of the main claims in Scholz's discrimination lawsuit." Guokas supported the contention of team officials that Scholz was a scout and given the title of Assistant Coach "only as a courtesy." Scholz had testified that Guokas could confirm his claims that the team "plotted to fire him unjustly. Guokas did not." But the "day was not a complete loss for Scholz," according to the SENTINEL's Gene Yasuda, as his attorney, Bernard Dempsey, pointed out "several contradiction in Guokas' testimony and challenged the accuracy of his statements." Guokas, a commentator for NBC who is also paid by the Magic for some broadcast work, said Scholz was allowed to sit on the bench "as a perk," adding if he "wanted to be a cheerleader from the bench, that was fine." Dempsey noted Guokas had said in an earlier deposition that Scholz "had coaching duties, therefore, he was an assistant coach." Guokas also admitted team officials asked him if hiring a black assistant "was a good idea," but he said they were "speaking generally." Scholz's coaching claim was "bolstered" by former players Jeff Turner and Stanley Roberts (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 1/31).