SwimmingTeri McKeever Fired From Cal After Long Investigation Concludes

Teri McKeever Fired From Cal After Long Investigation Concludes


Teri McKeever Fired From Cal After Long Investigation Concludes

Longtime Cal women’s swimming head coach Teri McKeever has been fired by the university after spending the last eight months on administrative leave. McKeever was under investigation after the Orange County Register reported that McKeever had verbally abused and bullied swimmers.

According to a new report from the Register, Cal swimmers were informed of McKeever’s termination in a letter from Cal athletic director Jim Knowlton Tuesday, and Cal confirmed McKeever’s departure shortly after.

“I’m writing to inform you that today we have parted ways with long-time women’s swimming coach, Teri McKeever” Knowlton wrote in the letter. After carefully reviewing an extensive investigative report that was recently completed by an independent law firm, I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student athletes, our swimming program, and Cal Athletics as a whole.

“The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin, and disability discrimination. The report also details verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values. I was disturbed by what I learned in the course of reading through the report’s 482 pages that substantiate far too many allegations of unacceptable behavior. I want to apologize, on behalf of Cal Athletics, to every student-athlete who was subject to this conduct in the past, and I want to thank everyone who had the courage to come forward and share their story with the investigators.”

The investigation, commissioned by the university and conducted by the law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, interviewed 147 people and reviewed 1700 documents, concluded that McKeever “created a hostile environment” for various swimmers based on race, national origin and disability, with the report listing several examples of swimmers (with names redacted).

Additionally, “MTO determined that a preponderance of the evidence, including the accounts of more than 40 swimmers, supported the conclusion that Coach McKeever yelled personal insults and epithets at certain swimmers and, with those certain swimmers, used humiliating and belittling language that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to the University’s legitimate business interests.”

The PDF of the full report, which runs more than 500 pages with more than 500 additional pages in evidence examined, is available here. Much of the information in the report is redacted.

During the ongoing collegiate season, Cal men’s coach Dave Durden has served as Acting Director of Swimming for the Golden Bear women and men, and Cal announced that Durden will continue in that role while “the department will move as quickly as possible to decide permanent leadership for the program.” David MarshMatt Bowe and Jesse Moore are other current members of the Cal coaching staff.

McKeever has been the head women’s coach at Cal since 1993, and during that time, the Golden Bears won four national titles (2009, 2011, 2012 and 2015). McKeever was a member of the coaching staff for the U.S. Olympic team on multiple occasions, including as head coach of the women’s team in 29012.

McKeever, 60, has been the Cal women’s head coach dating back to 1993. She’s led the program to four NCAA titles, six Pac-12 Championship victories, and has served on three U.S. Olympic staffs. This included being named the head coach of the women’s team for the 2012 Games in London, making her the first and only female head coach of the U.S. Olympic swimming team.

The full letter from Cal is available below:

Dear Cal Athletics Staff and Members of the Women’s Swimming and Diving Program,

I’m writing to inform you that today we have parted ways with long-time women’s swimming coach, Teri McKeever. After carefully reviewing an extensive investigative report that was recently completed by an independent law firm, I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student athletes, our swimming program, and Cal Athletics as a whole.

The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin, and disability discrimination. The report also details verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values. I was disturbed by what I learned in the course of reading through the report’s 482 pages that substantiate far too many allegations of unacceptable behavior. I want to apologize, on behalf of Cal Athletics, to every student-athlete who was subject to this conduct in the past, and I want to thank everyone who had the courage to come forward and share their story with the investigators. The report is available upon request. If you wish to receive a copy, please contact Dan Mogulof at dmogulof@berkeley.edu. As per the California Information Privacy Act, the only portions of the report that we can release are those describing conduct that was found to violate policy. The report has also been redacted to remove names and information that could reveal a student’s identity.

I want to tell the members of our women’s swimming and diving program how much I respect and appreciate your resilience, and how you have come together in support of each other and the program. At my request, Dave Durden is continuing as acting director of swimming and diving. I want to assure you that we will move as quickly as possible to decide on permanent leadership for the program. I also want to assure you that we will continue to do everything in our power to support you and provide you with what you need to thrive in your athletic and academic pursuits.

Looking to the future, I acknowledge that there have been evolving standards in intercollegiate athletics when it comes to how we develop our student-athletes to be their best, on and off the fields of competition. While we have strong, existing policies that cover a wide range of unacceptable conduct, I believe areas remain where there is a lack of consensus and clarity, areas where practices acceptable in the past need to be updated. To support our students-athletes and coaches, I will lead a collaborative effort across the Cal Athletics community to develop updated guidelines that will allow coaches to mentor and challenge student-athletes in an environment that enables our young women and men to thrive.

In the days ahead, we will begin this process through a series of conversations with our coaches, staff and student athletes. We will provide ample opportunities for our teams to provide input and feedback. Once completed we will educate our community about our new guidelines.

We will continue to encourage anyone who experiences or learns of potential misconduct to promptly and anonymously report it through the new complaint portal, created for the University of California, Berkeley and Cal Athletics and now active with direct connection to appropriate campus investigative offices.

All of us who have the privilege of working for and with Cal Athletics know we have work to do when it comes to building a culture that provides an authentic sense of belonging, safety, respect, and inclusion for all. We have heard the expressions of concern and continue to do all that we can to ensure our policies and practices fully align with our words and values. Our desire is for Cal Athletics to be a model for educating and developing young women and men, and we remain committed to constant improvement, to learning from the past, to never being complacent when it comes to student-athlete well-being, and all that starts and ends with me.

Jim





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