Former University of Washington head track coach Greg Metcalf has been accused of weight shaming and verbally abusing his runners, according to The Daily.
Metcalf told The Seattle Times on Wedesnday that he was "saddened to hear" about the allegations.
“While I can’t speak directly to these claims, I can say that I have always viewed it as my responsibility as a coach to take care of the whole person, including the emotional, social, physical, academic and athletic components of our student-athletes,” Metcalf told The Seattle Times. “I am saddened to hear that some of the student-athletes I have coached feel that they were not cared for, but I am extremely proud of the body of work I have composed in over 20 years of coaching and caring for students.”
A group of upperclassmen brought a list of complaints to the university's athletic department the day before Metcalf's resignation. They threatened to take the information public if nothing was done to address the situation.
Metcalf resigned on May 18 in the middle of his 16th season leading the track and cross-country programs.
The allegations against Metcalf included the coach making profane statements and encouraging his runners to practice unhealthy eating habits in order to lose weight. Athletes said Metcalf would grab at or pinch their skin, looking for weight gain, and he encouraged unhealthy habits that led to some people's bodies wearing down.
Metcalf also allegedly encouraged runners to report on their teammates about what they ate or what they did over weekends.
Carter Henderson, the senior athletic director for external relations, released a statement that the athletic department was made aware of the athletes' list of complaints. When the athletic department met with Metcalf over these allegations, the coach decided "it was in the best interest of the program for him to step away."
Metcalf was first investigated by the athletic department in 2014 after athletes filed grievances against him, but he continued to work at the university.
Washington won its first West Regional cross country tournament in 2015, and Metcalf won the Pac-12 Coach of the Year award in 2016.