Online Extra: New investigation of suspended college swim coach
By BRADY McCOMBS
SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah announced Monday it is hiring a pair of outside investigators to review allegations of physical abuse and inappropriate behavior by the school’s ousted swim coach.
The university already has said it won’t renew the contract of suspended swim coach Greg Winslow based on allegations that he sexually abused a teenage girl he coached in Arizona six years ago.
Winslow has been on paid suspension since Feb. 28, when University of Utah officials were made aware of the Arizona allegations.
He has not been arrested or charged in either state. The Maricopa County attorney’s office in Phoenix is reviewing a 97-page police report from Arizona State University.
Winslow commonly came to practice drunk; had outbursts of anger, including once punching an assistant coach; used racial slurs; and once forced a team member to swim underwater with his hands tied to a PVC pipe that was strapped to his back until he blacked out, parent Matt Fiascone said. Fiascone’s son, Austin, swam on the University of Utah team for three seasons while Winslow was coach.
“He’s a monster,” Matt Fiascone said of Winslow.
Winslow did not answer phone calls for comment from told The Associated Press, and his voicemail box was full. He has denied the Arizona allegations.
Utah Athletic Director Chris Hill said he’s not aware of the any of the allegations at Utah being of a sexual nature.
Matt Fiascone said he called to tell Hill about Winslow’s behavior in March 2012. He said he now knows other parents lodged complaints as far back as 2008. He criticizes Hill for not properly investigating.
“The pattern here is one of just absolute disrespect for the welfare of the student athlete,” said Matt Fiascone, whose son was dismissed from the team in November for going to a weekend party after Winslow asked team members not to.
In an interview Monday, Hill said he went to University of Utah President David Pershing on Sunday and asked him to take an independent look at Winslow’s tenure after new information came to light this weekend. Hill declined to elaborate on the new information but said the investigation will look at the entirety of Winslow’s nearly six-year tenure running the swim team.
“We have to look both backward and forward,” Hill said Monday. “It is important to have it be thorough.”
Pershing said Monday he has chosen two attorneys to do the new investigation: Michael Glazier, a Kansas City, Mo.,-based attorney with experience doing college athletic investigations; and Alan Sullivan, a Salt Lake City attorney.
They will be asked to determine if any wrongdoing occurred during Winslow’s tenure. The investigators also will be asked to find out what was reported to university officials and how those reports were handled.
The University of Utah did an internal investigation of some of these allegations in the fall but found no wrongdoing, university spokesman Keith Sterling said. Hill said that probe was triggered by a letter sent by a swimmer’s father. Hill declined to discuss what they investigated or what the findings were, saying that will be revealed at the conclusion of the new investigation.
“The issue is to find out what we know, what the athletic department knew, what the athletic department maybe should have known, what are the things that happened,” Hill said. “What, if appropriate, improvements need to be made in our program.”
The university does not yet have a cost estimate or timetable for the outside investigation, though Hill said it will be done quickly.
Winslow denied the sexual abuse allegations at Arizona State University in an interview with ASU police. The police report shows Winslow was 32 when he took a special interest in a 15-year-old swimmer on the Sun Devils Aquatics club in Tempe, Ariz.
The girl’s father reported the abuse to ASU police in September 2012 after his now-22-year-old daughter attempted suicide. The father told police that the sexual abuse went on for three years until Winslow left to take the job at the University of Utah, according to a police report obtained by the AP. The abuse occurred after swim practice in Winslow’s locked office and included kissing and fondling, the report shows.
Winslow urged her to keep quiet about the abuse, saying, “People will think I’m Chester the Molester,” according to a police report. The woman told police in Arizona that Greg Winslow was “like the creepy uncle you know hugging you too long.”
The University of Utah conducted a criminal background check of Winslow before hiring him as a swim coach in June 2007, Sterling said.
Prior to coming to Salt Lake City, Winslow was assistant swim coach at ASU, the Air Force Academy and Saint Cloud State University. He is originally from Colorado Springs, Colo., and was an All-American swimmer in 1996 at the University of North Dakota.
The university has begun a search for a new coach. Richard Marschner is serving as interim director of the swimming and diving program, and will continuing to coach divers. Assistant coach James Winchester is the interim swim coach.
Follow Brady McCombs at https://twitter.com/BradyMcCombs
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