March 12, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) The head coach of the Ohio State University women's hockey team sexually harassed players with repeated and inappropriate comments, according to an investigation that ended with the coach resigning under threat of firing.

Ex-coach Nate Handrahan also violated university policy against whistleblower retaliation by intimidating and chastising team members after complaints were raised, according to the report.

The investigation into Handrahan began in November after an anonymous complaint from someone identified as a ''faculty member or instructor'' passed on allegations of sexual harassment.

The same complaint ''also alleged that the student-athletes do not come forward with their concerns about the behaviors Mr. Handrahan allegedly exhibits during team practices and meetings because they fear retaliation,'' the report said.

Handrahan, 37, resigned Monday, the same day the university informed him he would be fired the next day, according to his personnel file.

A performance review in May found that Handrahan ''meets expectations.'' He scored above average in ''academic success'' and ''student-athlete welfare,'' with room to improve in communication and budget management, according to his personnel file. He made $106,334, following a raise authorized by athletic director Gene Smith in August.

The university said in a statement without addressing the report that it was launching an immediate search for a new coach.

Handrahan did not immediately return a message seeking comment. Handrahan told investigators his comments were taken out of context but he could not explain to them how or why, according to the report.

Handrahan frequently made sexual comments or innuendos about the female players and their boyfriends, according to interviews with 11 players, the report said.

''The witnesses explained Mr. Handrahan is overly curious about their personal lives and often they are not sure how he finds out about the details of the relationships with their boyfriends,'' according to the report.

Players said Handrahan used sexually vulgar or explicit language during practices and at games, including explicit language during games often directed at female referees, the report said.

Last year, the university fired marching band director Jonathan Waters after determining he knew about but failed to stop a ''sexualized culture'' in the band.

Two Ohio State assistant cheerleading coaches were fired in 2013 after sexual harassment accusations from cheerleaders.

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Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus.

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