Curb Records Chief and Major Patron Assails College for Forcing Out Gay Coach

Alma Mater of Brad Paisley, Trisha Yearwood, Josh Turner Under Fire

Nashville’s Belmont University, whose Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business sired Brad Paisley, Trisha Yearwood, Josh Turner and other prominent music figures, has been criticized by the Curb College’s namesake himself for forcing out a soccer coach on the grounds that her public admission of homosexuality conflicts with the school’s Christian identity.

Mike Curb, who heads Curb Records, assailed the school’s decision in a letter to Belmont’s faculty senate, a group that also opposes the coach’s severance. The full text of Curb’s letter was published in Nashville’s daily newspaper, The Tennessean.

“Belmont’s Curb College is the largest stand alone music business college in the nation,” Curb writes, “and more than half of Belmont’s students study either the music business or music in general. All of us know that there are gay students at Belmont who are also very concerned [about Belmont's policy]. When our students enter the workforce, they will be entering an industry where gay people have made incredible contributions.”

Curb also donated $10 million toward the construction of the Curb Event Center at Belmont, a multipurpose arena that hosted one of the official presidential debates between Barack Obama and John McCain in 2008.

Soccer coach Lisa Howe left the university under pressure last week after revealing to her team members that she and her female partner were expecting a baby.

Sympathetic students began a series of demonstrations and sit-ins on Sunday (Dec. 5) that is still in progress.

“Hopefully, Belmont will offer to re-hire Lisa Howe, and hopefully this type of injustice will never happen again,” Curb’s letter continues. “I will do everything I can to try to get the Board of Trustees to reconsider their position based on the fact that this is a basic civil rights issue.”

Curb Records country roster includes Rodney Atkins, LeAnn Rimes, Wynonna and Clay Walker.

Marty Dickens, the chairman of Belmont University’s board of trustees, told The Tennessean, “We expect people to commit themselves to high moral and ethical standards within a Christian context. That includes members of the board, faculty and administration.”

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.