Thursday, February 28, 2013
Utah suspends swim coach
SALT LAKE CITY -- University of Utah swim coach Greg Winslow has been suspended because of allegations that he sexually abused a teenage girl he coached in Arizona six years ago.
Utah athletic director Chris Hill announced the suspension Thursday. Winslow was in his sixth season as the Utes' swim coach. Though no charges have been filed, Hill said he believes the allegations are serious enough to warrant the suspension pending further investigation.
Hill said his department first learned of the accusations Wednesday night.
"With these types of things, you take everything seriously," Hill said. "At the same time, there is a balance between reacting appropriately and reacting harshly. A suspension is the right thing to do right now because it hasn't even been 24 hours."
The Arizona State University Police Department released a statement Thursday saying in 2007 it investigated allegations that Winslow sexually abused a teenage girl who was a member of a swim club coached by Winslow.
Campus police said the abuse occurred at an ASU swimming center rented by the club and the club isn't affiliated with the university.
The university said Winslow worked as an ASU assistant men's swimming coach from 2003-07. It was unclear whether Winslow was an ASU employee at the time. Police haven't released the girl's age.
Campus police said they turned over their investigative report to county prosecutors. Jerry Cobb, spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, said prosecutors will review the report to determine if charges will be filed.
Nobody answered a call at Winslow's home when The Associated Press called Thursday afternoon seeking comment.
Concussion Inc. first reported the allegations involving the unidentified teenage swimmer at an Arizona club. In a statement to the website, Winslow said, "These are extremely serious allegations, and if I am accused, I will certainly respond."
University of Utah police were made aware of the ASU investigation in December, said school spokesman Keith Sterling. He said ASU police asked them to keep it confidential to avoid compromising the case.
"Our police department abided by that," Sterling said. "That is why the university administration, nor the athletic department, was aware of this until it came to light last night on the Internet."
Sterling said the university is changing its rules to prevent this from happening again. In the future, university police will be called on to advise university administration when they have knowledge of these type of allegations, he said.
"We believe the university should be notified of this serious information," Sterling said.
Winslow was also investigated in the fall of 2012 for use of offensive language with his swimmers, Sterling said. That was triggered by a complaint lodged by the parent of a former swimmer. The university interviewed more than 50 people, including members of the swim team, and they all denied the claims.
As that investigation came to a close, the university then heard reports of Winslow making inappropriate contact with swimmers, he said. They investigated that, which was also roundly denied.
With these new allegations from Arizona coming to light, Sterling said the university plans to bring in outside investigators to re-investigate the claims of inappropriate contact by Winslow during his time at the University of Utah. The university stands by its investigation but wants to bring in a fresh set of eyes, Sterling said.
Winslow, originally from Colorado Springs, Colo., is married with two children. After becoming an All-American swimmer in 1996 at the University of North Dakota, he began his coaching career with the Valley Swim Team in Colorado Springs, according to his bio on the University of Utah website. His collegiate coaching career includes stints as an assistant coach at ASU, the Air Force Academy and St. Cloud State University.
He was hired as the University of Utah swim coach in June 2007. Under Winslow, 10 University of Utah swimmers have participated in the U.S. Olympic trials, and swimmers have set 38 school records.
The Utah women's team is competing at the Pac-12 Championships in Washington. Richard Marschner was appointed interim coach.