Fired Louisville men's tennis coach Rex Ecarma allegedly bullied, discriminated against and mistreated players during his 29-year tenure with the school, an investigative report from the university revealed on Monday.
According to detailed records obtained by the Courier-Journal, Louisville's University Integrity and Compliance Office and employee relations department found that Ecarma pressured athletes to play through injuries, forced them to play outdoors in near-freezing temperatures and made discriminatory jokes about players' ethnicities and women.
Ecarma said in one instance that "whites are better than black people," according to the report, which added that his behavior "made the student-athletes and employees fearful of retaliation if they reported their concerns to him."
Per the Courier-Journal, investigations interviewed Ecarma and 21 other people in addition to reviewing his personnel file, emails and injury reports during the three-month investigation. The school's findings led to Ecarma's firing on Friday.
Ecarma protested the university's decision in a statement to the Courier-Journal on Friday, claiming that he was not kept in the loop throughout the investigation.
"I’m deeply disappointed by the decision,” Ecarma wrote. "I’ve been a Louisville Cardinal my entire adult life, as a ball boy, player, and for nearly 30 years as the Head Coach. My teams have been successful and my record, including my personnel file, has been spotless."
"I was never presented with any allegations, by anyone, against me, despite repeated requests," he added. "Mid-inquiry, the University publicly stated there were no NCAA, criminal or Title IX violations but told me little else. At no time did any player, assistant coach, student, fan or anyone make a complaint to me. I cooperated fully in the inquiry. I have always maintained the highest and most rigorous standards for myself. I care deeply for the players I’ve had the honor of coaching and mentoring."
Ecarma's current contract was set to expire on June 30, 2023.