Gaw | Poe LLP Files Evidence Supporting Ongoing Lawsuit Against University of San Francisco Alleging Pervasive Abusive Conduct by Women’s Basketball Coach Molly Goodenbour Against Student-Athletes

SAN FRANCISCO--()--The San Francisco-based law firm of Gaw | Poe LLP announced today that it filed a motion for summary adjudication on behalf of its clients, Marta and Marija Galic, in their ongoing lawsuit against the University of San Francisco and its head women’s basketball coach, Molly Goodenbour. The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiffs, active players on the USF women’s basketball team from 2018-2021, were repeatedly subjected to verbal and emotional abuse by Goodenbour and her coaching staff, to the point of one of the plaintiffs becoming suicidal. The lawsuit also alleges that Goodenbour regularly forced them to play or practice while injured, which led to the severe aggravation of those injuries. The lawsuit also alleges that the USF’s athletic department was aware of Goodenbour’s conduct yet chose not to stop it.

In support of the motion, Plaintiffs submitted sworn testimony or statements from multiple former USF women’s basketball players. Among other things, these players alleged:

  • Goodenbour regularly berated her players as being “worthless,” “stupid,” “lazy,” “incompetent,” and “quitters.” Goodenbour also repeatedly mocked her own players’ physical appearances and made cruel jokes about their weight, basketball skills, or dating life.
  • Goodenbour told an African-American player during a Six Flags amusement park outing that an actor wearing a Daffy Duck costume was talking to her specifically because she was “as black as him.”
  • Goodenbour made fun of a player’s Christian faith in front of her teammates.
  • Players routinely and openly cried during and after practices because of Goodenbour’s treatment of them, in full view of USF’s athletic director Joan McDermott.

Plaintiffs also submitted internal records from USF and from Goodenbour’s former employer, U.C. Irvine. These documents stated:

  • U.C. Irvine suspended Goodenbour without pay for commenting about a player’s disability and for repeatedly making abusive remarks to her players.
  • U.C. Irvine later put Goodenbour on administrative leave for the remaining 4+ months of her employment contract (which it declined to renew) and informed her that she had no cause for contacting any of its student-athletes.
  • Two different USF women’s basketball players complained to its athletic department about Goodenbour’s conduct, and apparently two other players wrote to corroborate these claims. But McDermott instead wrote to the NCAA that the school “did not find any evidence of bullying and mistreatment within the program.”
  • Several days after Plaintiffs’ father sent to McDermott an audio recording of Goodenbour interacting with one of the Plaintiffs, an USF athletic trainer recorded in her logs that McDermott “encouraged me to get [Plaintiff] to quit and leave[.]”

“This is only the tip of the iceberg,” said Randolph Gaw, an attorney for the plaintiffs and a partner at Gaw | Poe. He added, “We’ve been in contact with numerous other former players, as well as former employees of USF’s athletic department, and we expect many to come forward in the next few months to confirm the allegations of our lawsuit. And for all the others who’ve told us they fear to speak out against USF and Goodenbour, we hope this court filing shows that they are not alone and do not need to be afraid.”

The lawsuit is captioned Marta Galic, et al. v. Molly Goodenbour, et al., No. CGC-21-592331 and is filed in the San Francisco Superior Court. People seeking copies of Plaintiffs’ court filings may download them for free from the court website or may request Gaw | Poe for a copy.

About Gaw | Poe LLP

Gaw | Poe LLP is a San Francisco Bay Area boutique law firm focusing on business litigation, antitrust litigation, and appeals. Founders Randolph Gaw and Mark Poe are nationally recognized litigators who graduated from the same class at Stanford Law School. The firm has been recognized by The National Law Journal for obtaining the 37th largest verdict in the country for 2016. For more information, please visit


Randolph Gaw (; 415-766-7451
Gaw | Poe LLP

Release Summary

Gaw | Poe LLP Files Evidence in Lawsuit Against University of San Francisco Alleging Abusive Conduct by Women’s Basketball Coach Against Students.


Randolph Gaw (; 415-766-7451
Gaw | Poe LLP