Former Kentucky Coach Lars Jorgensen Reportedly Suspended Previously in 2019

by Riley Overend 39

May 24th, 2024 College, News, SEC

Former University of Kentucky head coach Lars Jorgensen was reportedly suspended back in 2019 for failure to report sexual harassment allegations made against one his staff members, according to records obtained by the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Jorgensen was also suspended for the Wildcats’ SEC opener in November of 2023 before spending almost two months off deck last May prior to his resignation in June. Last month, two of his ex-swimmers (who later became assistant coaches) filed lawsuit against Jorgensen and Kentucky claiming that university was complicit in allowing him to groom and sexually assault them.

Jorgensen was reportedly suspended for six days without pay in December of 2019 for hiding sexual assault allegations against a staff member. He was paid a $75,000 settlement before resigning last June — significantly less than the $402,500 left on his contract through the 2024-25 season.

Jorgensen’s lawyer, Greg Anderson, blamed the disturbing accusations on his support of Riley Gaines. Jorgensen himself denied allegations that he is a “serial sexual predator,” claiming he had consensual dating relationships with his accusers while they worked under him assistant coaches at Kentucky.

Former Kentucky swim coach Gary Conelly and current athletic director Mitch Barnhart are also named as defendants in the lawsuit along with Jorgensen and the university for their “deliberate indifference.” Kentucky’s Title IX office has reportedly known since 2019 about accusations that Jorgensen had been in a relationship with one of his swimmers at Toledo and sexually assaulted a staff member at Kentucky. In the lawsuit, former members of the Wildcats program say they were “vigorously discouraged” by a Title IX officer from reporting Jorgensen’s abuse.

In 2014, a former Toledo softball coach accused Jorgensen of having a long-term romance with a swimmer, hiring her as an assistant coach, and ultimately promoting her to head coach in a Title IX lawsuit where he was one of three examples of male head coaches and administrators who “committed much more egregious offenses” without being fired. Conelly told The Athletic that he looked into that situation and said Jorgensen only started dating her after she stopped swimming.

“This is not an uncommon occurrence that there is a relationship between a coach and an ex-swimmer,” Conelly said.

As a swimmer, Jorgensen set program records at the University of Tennessee and went on to represent the U.S. at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. The 53-year-old has also held the record for the Ironman World Championships for nearly two decades with a swimming split of 46:41.

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HoosierSwimTaxi
8 days ago

June 11, 2024

ISC Coaching Update

“Good evening,

“We are writing to inform you that Chip Kline is no longer Head Coach of Indiana Swim Club. We appreciate your understanding that we are unable to share further details.

“We are grateful to Coach Jeff LeBeau for serving as Interim Head Coach. Moving forward, we will be reviewing the club’s coaching structure and developing the job description to better align with club mission and vision.

“Additionally, we will be seeking volunteers to join a search and screen committee to assist with the recruitment process.

“Thank you for your continued support.”

Sincerely,
RB
Interim Board President

JGabriella
19 days ago

Such a great tactical coach. Sad to see all the carnage he left in his wake. Swimmers always improved. UK Women’s SEC Championship a few years back speaks to his tutelage. Wish there wasn’t smoke/fire following him everywhere. Sad for the athletes and coaches.

swim dad
23 days ago

For some reason Chip and Ray were added to the conversation when they were never actually mentioned in any articles pertaining to incidents. Since there is quite a bit of slander going on right now before recruiting season, would those with “the secret information” please state their affiliation with NCAAs? This is a perfect opportunity for other NCAA affiliates to discourage recruits from joining the “completely transformed” IU swim and dive culture

alum
Reply to  swim dad
23 days ago

Chip is directly mentioned in the Herald leader article.

swim mom
Reply to  alum
23 days ago

UK suspended swim coach in 2019 in sexual harassment investigation of assistant – Yahoo Sports

“Investigators said women on the team complained that Kline made sexually degrading comments about their bodies, commented on their private sexual relationships, made a female swimmer hug him, touched a swimmer’s neck to take her pulse and touched a swimmer’s knee to lift her towel.”

“Violations were found against Kline and he was suspended and, ultimately, rejected for contract renewal or rehire for violations of UK’s policies on discrimination and harassment,” Willett said. “UK has consistently acted upon and investigated allegations when they were known and when complainants have opted to pursue allegations,” she said.

swim dad
Reply to  alum
23 days ago

Link?

swim dad
Reply to  alum
23 days ago

What’s your affiliation to D1?

alum
Reply to  alum
23 days ago

The link is in this swim swam article in the very first paragraph. Not sure why you’re so aggressive about this. I am a recent grad of the UK swim team, certainly no need to question my knowledge about the subject.

swim dad
Reply to  alum
23 days ago

Then who are you? What is your affiliation? Are you in competition with IU?

swim dad
Reply to  alum
23 days ago

“Not sure why you’re aggressive” when my title is Swim Dad. Talk about out of touch. This is exactly what I’m talking about, you’re only stake in the game is damage, not understanding. You’re too afraid to go public because you will embarrass yourself

swim dad
Reply to  alum
23 days ago

The link goes to a pay wall. Nothing there? Can you share the text?

Truth
Reply to  swim dad
22 days ago

Chip details in the Kentucky article linked to Swim Swam article. Chip is head coach of ISC. ISC is loosely affiliated with IU.

These are facts. Sorry they cause emotion for Swim Dad. However, they are facts none the less.

If I were ISC I would cut ties with Chip Kline. If I were IU I would cut ties with Chip Kline.

Auto
24 days ago

Old boys network is over. Time for the next generation to take over.

MilesofAir
26 days ago

Chip learned everything he know from his mentor John Trembley at University of Tennessee

Chip has taken down so many coaches (think UVA) who covered for him and now Ray L has him working with 16 year old girls

Swammer TX
26 days ago
i used to be fast now im just fat
Reply to  Swammer TX
26 days ago

swim swam comment section needs to be archived for future generations to appreciate the gift that TRULY keeps on giving

Douglass Wharrram Fan Club
Reply to  Swammer TX
26 days ago

Where’s Ol’ Longhorn at nowadays? Seems the “bashing” had some truth behind it.

swim dad
Reply to  Swammer TX
23 days ago

Yeah because if it’s on social media, it must be true? You can fabricate in the comments on here all day long

HamsForEveryone
Reply to  swim dad
23 days ago

It’s not fabrication if UK publicly identifies you as the assistant coach who was suspended and rejected from contract renewal for just cause.

David Worthington
26 days ago

This entire new development revolves around the behavior of former UK Assistant Chip Kline who has a lengthy history of being an absolute creep.

And who hired Chip once he was fired for misconduct at UK?

You guessed it – Ray Looze. The same Ray Looze who called his best friend Lars “A gift to coaching” when the initial reports of Lars’s administrative leave became public last May. So Ray hires Chip and gives him a job coaching 16 year old girls for the Indiana Swim Club. It’s disgusting….

This cycle has got to end. All of these people need to be held accountable.

https://amp.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article288716435.html

oxyswim
Reply to  David Worthington
26 days ago

I think Mackenzie was the one who actually used those words about Lars on here, but I’m sure she was just parroting Daddy Looze. I would bet money that Ray tried to find a way to bring Lars to Bloomington after he was fired from UK.

Howie
Reply to  oxyswim
26 days ago

Ray did attempt to bring Lars on board Aug 2023. I had a nice convo with the athletic department staff about it. They made it abundantly clear with “Ray’s own issues there’s no chance we would allow him to bring a guy like Lars here”.

Admin
Reply to  David Worthington
25 days ago

As far as I know, Ray isn’t involved with Indiana Swim Club. Some varsity swimmers represent them at some meets, but the club operates completely autonomously from him and has for about 10 years. He doesn’t own the club, coach there, serve on the board, hire coaches, etc.

David Worthington
Reply to  Braden Keith
25 days ago

And you believe that? You truly believe that the head coach of a University team has no say on who the club team that is directly underneath them and uses their facility hires? You believe it’s just coincidence that Chip gets forefully fired after working for Ray’s best friend Lars and that their connection had nothing to do with Chip being hired at ISC?

Curious then why Mike Westphal and Ray were so hell bent on getting another club to merge with Indiana swim club that Mike got arrested and fired for intimidating another club coach if that coach didn’t agree to it. But those coaches have nothing to do with the club team?

Come on Braden

Inside the truth
Reply to  David Worthington
24 days ago

As someone who worked at IU and for the club team I can tell you that Ray had little to no influence on the club, and that the university swimmers only represent the club in the off season. -training was with the university, not the club. Ray has no influence or authority with the board, or anything to do with the program.

Question
Reply to  David Worthington
24 days ago

Informed club parents would knowingly hire Chip Kline from Kentucky? Doubt it. Had to be involvement from IU. David is correct.

swim dad
Reply to  David Worthington
23 days ago

An assistant coach for one of the merged clubs used to swim for IU under Ray and Mike. His girlfriend had a medical condition and was let go from the team, causing resentment. Years later, after hearing about a merge, this guy decides to create a new club in Bloomington, undercut the prominent club, requiring no USA Swimming membership, free lanes, etc.. to sink it. Divide the swim community and put parents up against each other. Mike had a daughter in Indiana Swim Club and the club was losing money fast, the local swimming scene was badly fragmenting. We had up and coming swimmers who did big things for USA Swimming during this mess that really needed the USA Swimming… Read more »

btown
Reply to  Braden Keith
23 days ago

Former Bloomington club swimmer here- ISC has not been operating for 10 years. There used to be 2 clubs in Bloomington (BSC and CCIST) that were merged under, to put it lightly, questionable circumstances in 2018- with an IU coach immediately installed as a “community liaison” with no say from parents from either club. The very same coach that was fired for intimidating another club coach fairly soon after. Not saying you’re wrong, but to suggest the university has no involvement with the club is something any swimmer who’s swum for a Bloomington club the past several years would strongly disagree with.

swim dad
Reply to  btown
23 days ago

Unfortunately there was a vendetta and a desire to create an anti college swimming culture in Bloomington. To punish IU and block access, just when ISC finally earned Silver Status. Bloomington has long had club highschoolers participate in IU practices when they matured. It was a tradition started by Doc C.

Don’t try to say, on the Swimswam NCAA section that access to advanced training in a very small local swim community doesn’t matter.

swim mom
Reply to  swim dad
23 days ago

You seem to have knowledge of ISC and the local swim community yet have not commented on the revelations in this and other referenced articles. I am curious of your take on head coach Chip Kline and his past behavior and subsequent firing from UK that is now public knowledge.

UK suspended swim coach in 2019 in sexual harassment investigation of assistant – Yahoo Sports

David Worthington Jr
Reply to  David Worthington
23 days ago

What is your history with Ray and Chip?

swim dad
Reply to  David Worthington
23 days ago

Just out of curiosity, what is your affiliation with NCAAs? Do you compete against IU? These type of articles are great opportunities to slander other teams for recruiting purposes

EverybodyWangChungTonight
26 days ago

The dude is a predator, plain and simple.

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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