Cal placed women’s swim coach Teri McKeever on paid administrative leave Wednesday, the day after a blockbuster story alleged she bullied and verbally and emotionally abused athletes for years, pushing at least six women to consider suicide.
Here is the statement Cal athletic director Jim Knowlton provided to the Orange County Register of the Southern California News Group, which also published the original investigative story. Here is that story.
“Today, Coach McKeever was placed on paid administrative leave. This afternoon, in a meeting I held with team members I shared this news and expressed our commitment to support them in any way we can going forward. As reported, these allegations run counter to our core values and the expectations we have for every member of our department.
“As the person entrusted with the well-being of more than 1,000 student-athletes, coaches and staff, I have no greater responsibility than ensuring we do the right things in the right way. We will follow all university policies and protocols for investigating and addressing these allegations. We are replying to everyone, including parents and former student-athletes, who has reached out to us as quickly as we can, while we are also providing resources for members of the program who are in need.”
SCNG, a sister publication to the Mercury News and East Bay Times of the Bay Area News Group, interviewed 24 current and former Cal women’s swimmers, who reported consistently inappropriate behavior by McKeever, 60, who has coached Cal for 29 seasons and is a former U.S. Olympic team head coach.
Danielle Carter, one of the former Cal swimmers who said she was driven to consider suicide because of McKeever’s alleged bullying, wasn’t satisfied with the university’s initial response.
“I don’t think it’s enough,” she told the SCNG. “It’s not enough to call it even after all the pain and suffering myself, my family and other athletes and their families have experienced and are now traumatized over this. And nothing will ever be enough.”
Wednesday was a hectic day for the Cal women’s swim program. Team members reportedly walked out of a morning practice as part of a reported mounting push for the firing of Knowlton and Jennifer Simon-O’Neill, the athletic department’s senior women’s administrator and a close friend of McKeever.
Then there was this from the SCNG story:
Recently hired Cal assistant coach Jesse Moore on Tuesday informed swimmers still in Berkeley there would be a team meeting Wednesday morning, according to four people familiar with the situation. Instead, swimmers showed up to find McKeever who asked them if they were “ready to swim?” according to three people familiar with the practice.
The newspaper reported that Cal associate AD Gordon Bayne and Graig Chow, the school’s director of high performance and well being, met with swimmers after a Wednesday afternoon practice.
Cover photo of Teri McKeever by Kyle Terada, USA Today
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo