Christy: Utah Admits Winslow Should Have Been Fired in 2012

by Ceci Christy 11

July 02nd, 2013 College, News

At the press conference held today by Utah State University President David Pershing and Athletic Director Chris Hill, they revealed the findings of an independent investigation of former coach Greg Winslow’s conduct during his tenure as the head swim coach.  This investigation, which began in March of this year, reviewed allegations of physical abuse and inappropriate behavior by Mr. Winslow.  The University was forced to conduct such an investigation after learning of a police report filed against Mr. Winslow by one of his former swimmers when he was the head coach at Sun Devil Aquatics.

The investigation only covers Mr. Winslow’s six-year tenure at the University.  The independent investigation found that the University should have terminated Mr. Winslow in early 2012 for alcohol problems that “were corrosive to the entire team.”  This finding was the only reason the report gave for firing Mr. Winslow.  The investigators concluded that no physical abuse or sexual activity occurred with any of Mr. Winslow’s swimmers while he coached at the University.  Additionally, he was cleared of any alleged racial discrimination.  The investigators did not issue a position on the allegations of psychological abuse during training sessions as “training methods are subjective.”

While President Pershing and Mr. Hill emotionally discussed the investigation and issued apologies, one of Mr. Winslow’s former swimmers, Austin Fiascone, was dismayed at the findings.  Mr. Fiascone initiated the University’s internal investigation into Mr. Winslow in 2012 based upon the verbal abuse he suffered from Mr. Winslow over a three-year period.  Mr. Fiascone also brought to the school’s attention Mr. Winslow’s drinking and inappropriate racial comments and other behavior on the pool deck.  After an internal investigation, the University’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action cleared Mr. Winslow of any wrongdoing.

Mr. Fiascone tells us today that he “hopes this investigation is not the end of the story.”  He is calling on the NCAA to impose immediate sanctions on the University, Mr. Hill, and President Pershing for allowing Mr. Winslow to continue to coach after being aware from many sources that Mr. Winslow had an alcohol problem.  “I hope [the Winslow matter] help end the culture of protecting university systems.  The culture should be that of protecting the student-athlete – not the coach,” says Mr. Fiascone.  He believes a “hard stand by the NCAA against Utah will be a great first step” of developing that culture.  Mr. Fiascone’s official statement follows:

I’d like to start by saying I’m marginally pleased to see that the University of Utah took the bare minimum amount of responsibility for their failures.  That being said, I am absolutely appalled that the University of Utah can say they have found fault with Dr. Hill’s complete lack of action but have no real consequences for his repeated failure as Athletic Director. They should feel ashamed, the state of Utah should be ashamed and any alum of the University should be ashamed. The lack of consequences for Dr. Hill only furthers the University’s reputation as an institution that will protect its staff at all costs while neglecting the students that they are supposed to be protecting.

The NCAA must act to stop the cycle of institutional negligence when it comes to their athletes. The University of Utah has currently not made any indication that they will help those student-athletes who were affected by Winslow’s wrath and Dr. Hill’s incompetence. It is clear now they had knowledge of what was going on and did nothing substantial to stop it. They allowed Winslow to remain as coach and in contact with high school age recruits who were visiting the school.

What the University has done to this point about the situation has not been enough. They must take drastic measures to regain some of their integrity.


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9 years ago

“Pershing said the university will implement the recommendations, and in addition, create two high-level positions that will give student athletes clear pathways outside of the athletic department to submit complaints about coaches.”

See….the downfall of college athletics and the continued weakening of American character. What a bright idea – give administrators in areas other than sport, with no real knowledge of elite Division I athletics, free reign to monitor and control a culture they not only loathe, but will never understand as well.

Any student-athlete with an axe to grind now has yet another outlet to do so. Have we forgotten that a scholarship is an opportunity, not a right? Are we forgetting it is the university that… Read more »

9 years ago

Good article from the AP explains the findings in more detail as follows:

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah should have fired former swim coach Greg Winslow by no later than early 2012 for alcohol abuse that was corrosive to the entire team, an independent investigation has found.

According to the findings revealed Tuesday, during his first two years, Winslow used psychological manipulation against his swimmers to motivate by fear. While some swimmers and assistant coaches considered his style to be creative and innovative, others considered it abusive and cruel with one assistant coaching saying, “Greg was a manipulator, not a motivator.”

But the review concluded Winslow, 38, did not physically or sexually abuse his swimmers or use… Read more »

9 years ago

Glad he is gone. The U should have never hired him in the first place. He had a bad reputation going in and everyone knew it.

9 years ago

Yet Winslow was cleared of any acts of racial discrimination by Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. Obviously these allegations could not be corroborated/proven. Believe me, if there was evidence of the aforementioned acts then surely someone besides Fiascone would have come forward as Affirmative Action/Equal Opp investigations are as thorough as its gets.

Reply to  Gmoney
9 years ago

Yet it took the University how long to act on any of the reports? The Equal Opportunities investigation is an in-house organization, why would they report something that may make their ruin the representation? Winslow was still at the helm when this investigation was starting (November 2012) why would current athletes come forward about their coach when fearing what may happen if he found out? Yes, they ma have found no signs of discrimination but think about the scarring this kid probably suffered after the fact. Defend Winslow all you want, he was never good for the team or program based on the 40 page investigation. Don’t focus on just the race issue but look at the entire picture; beating… Read more »

9 years ago

According to the report, in 2010, he taped PVC piping from the torso to fingertips of a black swimmer who joked about being let out of practice for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and then forced him to swim underwater sprints until he blacked out in the pool. At that point, you’ve more than crossed the threshold into physical abuse. That could have been FATAL.

The Salt Lake City tribune article on this case and the 32 page report with the findings (some of it is blacked out) can be found here:

Reply to  Josh
9 years ago

And that was actually the second underwater black-out situation in a 2 year period for under Winslow…

9 years ago

As far as I can tell from what I’ve read, Winslow was wrongfully accused of all accusations minus his ‘alcohol problem.’ The verbal abuse card is thrown around so much these days it’s become absurd. Was he inappropriate at times? Probably. But verbal abuse is not clearly defined, and the minute a swimmer or parent dosent like a coaches action or decision (or become engaged in an argument with a coach), they claim verbal abuse.
Not saying he shouldn’t have been fired, but with all of the negativity surrounding this guy, almost none of it stuck. I’m thinking some of the accusations were not only exaggerated and groundless, but deliberate attacks on Winslow based on the fact that some… Read more »

Reply to  Bobby
9 years ago

It is hard for you to make your accusations when you were not in the shoes of these athletes. The university did a great job of covering it’s butt for not acting on multiple reports from student athletes throughout the years. If this was so groundless, why did they bring in the best ncaa investigators to review this? Why were there countless reports from transfer students who felt the same way, even after they left this school? If you were actually keeping up with this case instead of the bits and pieces you see on swim sites MAYBE you may understand what some of these kids were going through.

Reply to  Bobby
9 years ago–failed–its-student-athletes–so-why-does-ad-chris-hill-keep-his-job–181623663.html#more-id.

Eric Adelson has kept up with the story since the beginning and been in contact with swimmers and families involved. This article has a different take than most of the other articles out there…

Reply to  Bobby
9 years ago

As a former college swimmer myself (who also swam for a seriously hard core USS coach) and a relative of one of the swimmers involved in this… I can say this guy seemed pretty abusive to me… There may be some gray area between between being a really tough coach with creative training methods and actually being abusive, BUT Winslow was past the gray area.

About Ceci Christy

Ceci Christy is the mother of two teenage daughters and has held the proud title of swim mom for nine years. She volunteers extensively at her daughters' swim club in Atlanta. While being a mother is her most rewarding job, Ceci also serves as a pro bono child advocate in …

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