With Investigation Complete, Officials Say Utah Swim Coach Should Have Been Fired in 2012
Investigators have released a summary of their investigation into the University of Utah swim team and its embattled former coach. The team was hired by the University’s Board of Trustees to research and review evidence linked to ousted coach Greg Winslow’s alleged misconduct and the University’s response to those allegations.
Investigators say they found no evidence that Winslow engaged in alleged racial discrimination or sexual relations with student athletes. Investigator John Nielsen adds Winslow’s coaching methods, claimed by some swimmers to be physically or psychological abusive ended by early 2010 following intervention by athletic department officials.
“Winslow demonstrated a shocking lack of empathy for swimmers with physical or psychological limitations," Nielsen says. "He traumatized swimmers who told us years after they left the team that they still live with the consequences.”
Investigators determined Winslow should have been fired in early 2012 as a result of his drinking problem; but officials in the athletic department failed to follow up on the issue.
University of Utah Athletic Director Dr. Chris Hill apologized, saying he should have fired or suspended Winslow and demanded he receive alcohol treatment.
“There is no reason why I shouldn’t have taken a look at that more deeply," Hill says. "And I know if I looked at it deeply, and I knew what was going on, I know what I would have done.”
Dr. Hill will retain his position as athletic director. The university did not renew the contracts of Greg Winslow or former Associate Athletics Director Pete Oliszczak.
University of Utah President David Pershing says he’s disappointed in Hill’s lack of oversight but defended the athletic director’s ability to lead effectively. He announced the university will now adopt written standards for coaching methods in swimming and diving and make sure those standards are being enforced.
“We will be crystal clear about what we expect from our coaches," Pershing says. "We will also ensure that the students have safe confidential paths to make their voices are heard if necessary. And we will respond swiftly and effectively when significant issues arise.”
Pershing has instructed Hill to implement the new standards by August 15th.