Sage Hopkins on Enduring the 10+ Year Investigation of Scott Shaw: “Quitting never crossed my mind”

In the SwimSwam Podcast dive deeper into the sport you love with insider conversations about swimming. Hosted by Coleman HodgesGarrett McCaffrey, and Gold Medal Mel Stewart, SwimSwam welcomes both the biggest names in swimming that you already know, and rising stars that you need to get to know, as we break down the past, present, and future of aquatic sports.

Sage Hopkins just finished his 18th season as the Head Coach at San Jose State University. It was supposed to be the first season with some closure after a 13-year scandal that exposed student-athletes to an athletic trainer who molested athletes and the coverup that surrounded it.

Sage goes through the entire story, starting in 2009 when an athlete responded to his suggestion to go see the trainer, Scott Shaw, with, “No thanks. I don’t want to be molested.” From there 17 swimmers gave statements that were ignored and later destroyed, echoing the sentiment about Shaw’s “treatment.”

That 2010 investigation was the start of an embarrassing response from the SJSU Athletic Administration, despite multiple athletes from multiple sports complaining about Shaw. Coach Hopkins didn’t let that stop him from continuing to fight for the protection of the athletes but it Shaw remained at San Jose State until the pandemic in 2020.

This interview details the layers of corruption that allowed Shaw to stay, and even get promoted, over a decade after the first reports. Hopkins tells us about how he was treated within the athletic department and University because he refused to drop his complaints.

It’s a crazy story that every college coach should hear, and Hopkins is brave to share. Sage thanked many of the people who helped him eventually expose the violations and cover up but he wanted to make sure to mention that he was immensely grateful to Brian Mackenzie who was one of the very few people who publicly supported him throughout the entire process.

**Hopkin’s narrative follows publicly accessible information and critical comments were made in reference to previous administration. He is in full support of the current administration**


Music: Otis McDonald

Opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the interviewed guests do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the hosts, SwimSwam Partners, LLC and/or SwimSwam advertising partners.

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sang kil
2 months ago

the most chilling part of this podcast is when the coach says that san jose state university admins did not stop scott shaw from assaulting students, the covid lockdown did. sign this petition and share! help sjsu students and faculty create a safer campus against sexual assault and whistleblower retaliation!

DP Spellman
2 months ago

Good lord!
I thought the University of Iowa had a horrible administrative culture but this is really super disturbing!
I am never surprised when I hear about these cover ups and threats of retaliation. I’ve saw that in action in person (along with some outrageous temper tantrums by old white males) for around 9 years.

Good for you Coach Hopkins!
Keep up the good work and kudos for putting the health and safety of your athletes first.

Miss M
2 months ago

Harrowing. So thankful for the way he stayed and continued to stand up for, and try and protect his athletes, all while trying to get justice.

Swim Fan
2 months ago

I can’t imagine how hard it was to continue to fight for a safe environment for all the athletes of SJSU and do his job despite the years of pushback and retaliation. The saying “the right thing and the hard thing are oftentimes the same thing” is never more true than here.

Dan Smith
2 months ago

Great interview on a very very difficult fight. Great ending. Keep up the good fight, athletes all over need this type of coach!

About Garrett McCaffrey

No one lives the sport of swimming like Garrett McCaffrey. A Division I swimmer who spent 4 years covering the sport as a journalist, now coaches club swimming and competes as a masters swimmer, Garrett truly lives the sport of swimming. After graduating from University of Missouri’s award winning journalism program …

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