A former Woodbury High School girls’ basketball coach has won a defamation lawsuit against a parent, stating that the parent’s lies cost him his coaching job and almost jeopardized his teaching career.
The case was expected to go to a jury trial, however, Julie Bowlin agreed on Monday to settle it, agreeing to pay Nathan McGuire $50,000 through a life insurance policy and signed a three-page letter that details the lies she spread about McGuire.
“We’re happy with the outcome of this case,” McGuire’s attorney Donald Chance Mark Jr. told Bring Me The News. “We were ready and prepared to take it to trial the day of.”
The letter can now be used if McGuire wants to re-apply to positions to better explain his past, according to McGuire’s attorney.
“The purpose [of the letter] is to get [McGuire] employed again as a coach,” Mark said.
In addition, Mark said if Bowlin is unable to pay the amount owed, a judgement of $350,000 will be entered against her. Bowlin has filed for bankruptcy three times and doesn’t have a lot of assets, according to Mark.
“The $350,000 is way more aligned to the monetary damage [McGuire] suffered, not only to his income but his reputation as well,” said Mark.
It all stemmed from Bowlin’s seventh-grade daughter playing for McGuire’s 2011-2012 Academy of Holy Angels basketball team. Her daughter then went to Woodbury High School — where McGuire also worked. Court documents state the mother became angry at McGuire for not giving her then-freshman daughter playing time on the varsity team.
Bowlin’s daughter never played a game for the Royals and ultimately left the school in December 2013. Bowlin embarked on a quest to “take down” the coach, according to the lawsuit.
A three-page letter Bowlin signed revealed the lies she told people that resulted in McGuire’s “wrongful termination.” She admitted to lying about the following:
- McGuire “inappropriately touched, pushed, bullied, recruited and otherwise emotionally maltreated her daughter.”
- McGuire was jailed while at Woodbury High School for the claims above.
- McGuire had been “terminated” from Holy Angels prior to coming to Woodbury and parents had brought complaints against him.
She also recruited other parents in 2014 to file complaints against McGuire, hoping to get the Minnesota Department of Education to investigate his role as a kindergarten teacher. The Star Tribune reports that McGuire has been a kindergarten teacher in the same district since 1999 without any complaints made against him.
These accusations were made against McGuire to get him “put on paid suspension and better yet, terminat[ed] as a girls basketball coach and possibly lose his teaching license,” the lawsuit reads.
The school district ended up not renewing McGuire’s coaching contract in 2014. He spent some time coaching in other school districts before he applied to coach again for South Washington County Schools in 2019. However, the school district stated he was banned from working for them.
McGuire is currently a teacher at Armstrong Elementary School in Cottage Grove, according to the school district’s website. Since the incident happened, he has held coaching positions at Minneapolis South High School but it’s been “out of the way” from the Woodbury area he lives in, Mark said.
According to Mark, he has sent over 50 applications to different coaching positions around the metro.
“He can’t even get an interview,” Mark said, adding that the letter will serve as a buffer to prove that McGuire was wrongly accused and deserves a fair shot in the hiring process.
The case extended for years for a “multitude of reasons,” Mark said. The case went through federal court, state courts, the court of appeals, and the state supreme court. In 2019, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that parents who defame their children’s public high school coaches don’t have legal protections when they make false claims. The ruling reinstated the lawsuit filed by Mark and McGuire.
Bring Me The News also reached out to Bowlin’s attorney, Timothy Alan O’Brien, for comment Wednesday but have yet to hear back.