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Cheerleading coach Nicole Zivich says she was fired because of Hooters job

4:18 PM, Dec 8, 2011   |    comments
  • Nicole Zivich (right), seen here working at a Fort Myers "Hooters After Dark" event, says she was fired as a school's cheerleading coach because of her second job at the restaurant chain.
  • Nicole Zivich (right), seen here working at a Fort Myers "Hooters After Dark" event, says she was fired as a school's cheerleading coach because of her second job at the restaurant chain.
    
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Estero, Florida (News-Press) -- A Hooters employee claims she was unfairly fired from her other job as Estero High's varsity cheerleading coach.

Nicole Zivich, 24, was terminated Nov. 21. She said no reason was given.

Joe Donzelli, spokesman for the Lee County School District, said her firing did not have to do with her outside employment. He declined to comment further because, he said, it's a personnel issue.

Nothing in Zivich's personnel file indicates wrongdoing. The file includes an employment reference form from Steven Caruso, the general manager of Hooters in North Naples, who gave her high marks.

Zivich said she believes her firing was prompted by repeated complaints made to the school district by a parent of one of the cheerleaders.

"I think it's personal. I think she doesn't like me," said Zivich, who would not reveal the parent's name. "She has called me (a) noneducated Hooters girl with no common sense of safety."

Zivich said the parent did not approve of how the cheerleaders did stunts without mats and of a car wash fundraiser where some of the girls wore bikini tops.

Zivich said Lee schools did not require mats be used for stunts until the district changed its policy last month.

And as for the car wash, Zivich said, "Every girl had shorts on. It was optional to wear a bathing suit top. I have girls that wore T-shirts."

Zivich said she started working as a bar manager/server at Hooters in May 2007.

She was hired by the district in fall 2006 as a freshman/JV cheerleading coach and voluntarily left in March 2009 because her mother, who was head coach, was retiring.

Zivich was rehired this fall as the varsity coach.

She said she is considering legal action.

"She's slandered my name, who I am, made accusations about what I am about and what I'm trying to do with the program at Estero," Zivich said. "They didn't even give me a chance to give positives. There was never any questions to me of how I ran my program from authorities."

Zivich graduated in 2005 from Estero High, where she cheered all four years. She said she graduated in June 2010 from Southwest Florida College with an associate's degree and is a certified surgical technologist. She said she has applied for several jobs in that field.

At the Nov. 22 school board meeting, more than a dozen cheerleaders spoke in support of Zivich and asked for her to be reinstated.

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Christina Cepero, Fort Myers News-Press

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