Ex-coach was under investigation for sexual harassment
Former University of Toledo track and cross country head coach Kevin Hadsell was under investigation for inappropriate conduct when he resigned suddenly on Jan. 24, according to UT officials.
Lewd and explicit text messages from Hadsell to former UT track standout Emma Kertesz led to the coach’s resignation.
The story was reported Tuesday by The Blade and sports website Deadspin.com.
The five-time Mid-American Conference Women’s Cross-Country Coach of the Year was investigated Sept. 21 by the Human Resources department after Associate Athletic Director Kelley Andrews received an anonymous report of Hadsell’s actions.
The caller said Hadsell was dating a former athlete, and alleged that the relationship began when the athlete was a member of the program, according to The Blade.
Athletic Director Mike O’Brien said Hadsell was confronted about this allegation but denied it. O’Brien said because of the university’s policies regarding informal complaints of sexual harassment, the investigation had to stop there.
Then, on Dec. 26, All-American Kertesz turned her cell phone in to UT administrators. The phone contained graphic text messages exchanged with Hadsell that would inevitably prompt the coach’s resignation.
“I just felt I had to say something to prevent this from happening to somebody, specifically the women on the team that I care about deeply,” Kertesz told The Blade.
Hadsell told The Blade that Kertesz initiated the lewd text conversations, which date back to Oct. 7, 2012 and show that the coach was displaying interest in her. He also said parts of the conversation are missing.
Hadsell admitted to The Blade that he dated a UT athlete 10 years ago and acted inappropriately with Kertesz. However, he said allegations that he was involved with other students are false.
O’Brien said he was told by UT’s HR that the investigation had uncovered a relationship between Hadsell and a student “about two or three years ago.”
According to one of Hadsell’s text messages, both O’Brien and Andrews told Hadsell they didn’t mind if he dated players as long as they had officially graduated.
“Yes. They even said I can from the day they graduate. They don’t care,” Hadsell wrote.
O’Brien was adamant that this allegation was false.
“That’s totally inaccurate,” he said. “I don’t necessarily talk about relationships other than various meetings throughout the year to staff and coaches. We touch on making certain there’s no relationship with student athletes. It’s inappropriate, it’s against institutional policy and it’s simply wrong.”
The Deadspin report also alleged that Hadsell drove the team’s vehicle while intoxicated and drank at the team’s practices.
“I can’t speak to that because I don’t have the exact details,” O’Brien said. “The expectations that we place on our coaches is you’re responsible for those student athletes and if that conduct occurred, clearly it’s inappropriate and incredibly disappointing.”
O’Brien said while this will have an initial effect on the program, he believes it will improve.
“Obviously, this is embarrassing and that’s why we’re being very open about this,” he said. “As I indicated, we talked to the coaches about behavior and representing the University of Toledo and their team. Certainly short term, it’s not something we want. But at the same time, we know for the betterment of the program, we’ll get a new coach.
“Young people, young students are very resilient. They’ll recover.”
The university has reached out to the team and has reported that no counseling will be needed.
O’Brien also said interim coach Jiana Jin, who has another job outside of UT, will likely not be taking over full-time.
“Just because the pool [of candidates] will be different, we will start the search in late spring or early summer because the academic year would come to a close then,” O’Brien said. “So we will begin the search early spring and hire hopefully in the summer.”
Jay Skebba and Danielle Gamble contributed to this report.
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