“There are very few things that you can accuse someone of that are worse than this because your name will never be the same. It’s not about my name as a coach – it’s me as a human being – I didn’t do these things. Yeah I’m an idiot for a lot of things here, but these things don’t add up to me being some monster – people didn’t come forward with this kind of crazy stuff in the Deadspin article because those things weren’t happening.”
February 19, 2013
Over the last three nights, the NBC affiliate in Toledo, WNWOtv, has aired three excerpts of a 2 hour interview their sports director Will Kunkel conducted with former Toledo cross country and track and field coach Kevin Hadsell, who resigned from his position on January 24 for not following rules that he said needed to be followed (MB: University of Toledo Coach Hadsell Resigns). Mid-season resignations by track coaches are always going to lead to a large amount of messageboard chatter but the Hadsell discussions reached a new level a week ago on February 12 when Deadspin.com came out with an article on Hadsell’s resignation (“I’m Down For Drinks, Laughs, Sex”: The Sexual Harassment Claims That Brought Down Toledo’s Running Coach) which included allegations of sexual harassment against Hadsell, allegations of multiple inappropriate coach-athlete relationships by Hadsell, allegations of drinking at practice by Hadsell, and even allegations drunk driving of a team van by Hadsell (MB: Discussion of Deadspin’s Article: The Sexual Harassment Claims That Brought Down Toledo’s XC Coach)
They also released a fourth part we believe on youtube only. We know most of you won’t take the 22+ minutes needed to watch the interviews (which are embedded below) so we decided to provide you with a transcript of the interviews as you might have 4-5 minutes to read them. In the interviews, an often times tearful Hadsell admitted to having brought his own resignation upon himself and that he didn’t deserve to be coaching at Toledo anymore but he flatly rejected the most salacious aspects of the deadspin article.
Hadsell admitted to drinking at practice but denied ever drunk driving or being drunk in front of team members.
Hadsell admitted to having a relationship with a former athlete (it wasn’t clear if he admitted to having the relationship with her while she was on the team or not) and also admitted that assistant coaches had been in relationships with athletes on the team which he didn’t stop or investigate, but Hadsell denied being currently involved with anyone on the team and denied sexually harassing anyone on the team.
See the transcripts below.
WNWOtv says they will post additional parts of the interviews online. We’ll try to keep you updated.
Part I: Hadsell denies the most salacious aspects of the deadspin article but admits he shouldn’t be coaching at Toledo anymore, “I was more concerned with being myself than I was with being professional.”
A tearful Kevin Hadsell opens up the piece: There are very few things that you can accuse someone of that are worse than this because your name will never be the same. It’s not about my name as a coach – it’s me as a human being – I didn’t do these things. Yeah I’m an idiot for a lot of things here, Ok. I’m completely culpable on a lot of these levels but these things don’t add up to me being some monster – people didn’t come forward with this kind of crazy stuff in the Deadspin article because those things weren’t happening. They weren’t happening.
I didn’t create a situation where people couldn’t complain about me because I was calling them fat and telling them not to go on birth control because I was not calling people fat and telling them not to go on birth control. I wasn’t telling people that they were worthless. I wasn’t sexually harassing anybody. I wasn’t doing those things.
1:05 Interviewer: In your 15 years, did you ever think, “What the hell am I doing?”
As I’m sitting there and trying to have a conversation with human resources – with a guy that doesn’t know me at all – a guy that is incredibly professional. This was the epiphany, ok. I’m sitting there and you’ve got this really professional guy and he doesn’t know me, and he’s asking me to explain myself and all (of it), just like you are and it’s like, “Who puts themselves in this position?” I never should have drank at practice, regardless if it was only a couple of times and it was 7:30 at night it doesn’t matter – it should never have happened.
At the time, I’m just trying to justify it – you know what I mean. At the time, when they are asking about the drunk driving thing, it’s like “No I was never drunk. No one on my team has ever seen me drunk – ever.” But what the hell am I doing even having a couple of drinks before I’m driving a van? You’re an idiot.
2:10 Interviewer: (LRC Note: It was very hard to understand what he’s saying on this question) Your a selfish human being yourself and being perceived as ‘the person as who you get’ that you that you put yourself before the runners and this kind of evolved into what it is now because of the selfish attitude you took towards it?
Kevin Hadsell: Yeah.
I was more concerned with being myself than I was with being professional.
I’m just looking at myself and I’m just like, “What an idiot.” Basically I look at it, I was always so wrapped up in being myself that when it came time for me to be in a forum where I need to professional – that’s the one time I shouldn’t be acting like myself.
So then he’s like, “So what you are saying is you admit to being in a relationship with one of your former athletes. You admit that you have had assistant coaches that have either dated or whatever athletes (LRC note: we think he said athletes but the word might have been happens) and you didn’t do anything about it and you didn’t report it, which is obviously a violation of University policy, and then you are being accused of being in a relationship with someone recently and even if it didn’t happen, you’re certainly accused of it, you know what I’m saying, and then on top of that we have these texts with you and another person.” And literally that’s when I just broke down (and realized) – You’re right. There’s not way that you can go to (Athletic Director) Michael Browning and say that, ‘I think that Kevin Hadsell should continue to coach at the University of Toledo.’
Part II: Hadsell admits his drinking at practice would have continued had he not been forced to resign but denies berating a girl who tried to quit the team
Interviewer: Would you have stopped if you didn’t get caught or would this behavior have continued?
Kevin Hadsell: I think the drinking at practice with the plastic cup. I think I would have always would have just justified that, because it’s at night and nobody cares. I had assistant coaches that dated runners and I didn’t do enough to stop it or I just turned a blind eye to it and I just assumed it was a rumor.
I don’t want to make it seem as though that this was some kind of renegade program or something like this. You are talking about isolated snapshots over 15 years. You are talking about only a handful of things over 15 years.
0:55 Interviewer: (reading from Deadspin): There was an in crowd and the in crowd runners were those who paid special attention to their coach and would in return receive preferential treatment during practice and meets.
Kevin Hadsell: There was an in crowd. The in crowd was – any girl in our program right now would tell you what the in crowd is, everybody knows what the in crowd is – it’s the 9 women that get to run at the Mid American Conference championships – to run for a MAC Championship – only 9 can run and we’ve got like 26 women on the team and everybody always referred to, we referred to the in crowd, you want to be part of the in crowd – the nine that get to run. You know this is athletics – we are trying to create – this isn’t “Kumbaya”. And it isn’t high school where everybody’s got to participate and that kind of stuff. This is division one athletics and we’re one of the best teams in the country – you want to be one of the girls that gets to line up. We had special uniforms for the MAC Championships that we don’t wear to any other meet – this kind of stuff.
We had a meet – say we are at Kansas – and one of the girls who was kind of on the bubble will have a big breakthrough, and it’s getting kind of close to the MAC CHampionships and I’ll say, “Hey man. Welcome to the in crowd.” And (she reacts with) a big smile- so excited because she knows what the in crowd is – that means that I get to run at the MAC meet.
2:14 Interviewer (reading): “There was a girl that wanted to quit but you wouldn’t let her quit and then you told her that her family didn’t love her, that nobody loved her, that the team was her family and that’s it:”
Kevin Hadsell: That story is so far-fetched. I don’t know how anyone could ever believe that story – anybody that has ever been coached by me anybody that even knows me as a human being would know that I would never say something like that to somebody.
I might be an idiot – texting people I shouldn’t text. I might be an idiot because I screwed up and had a relationship. I’m an idiot for a lot of stuff – you know what I mean – but shockingly there are glimmers of me doing the right thing. One of the right things that I always did was if I was having a conversation with one of the women on the team – always my female assistant coach is always sitting there – always.
One thing I have on my side in these situations is the truth (inaudible) and (there are) people that you can go to back up what I’m saying. There is no way that conversation ever happened. It never happened. If it did happen, it would have happened in front of my assistant coach, and there is no way that my assistant coaches at any time would be like, “Oh I think it’s a good idea to have that conversation with her.” It’s believable to people who don’t know me because of how I am, because of my language, because of the mistakes that I have made in the past. It becomes believable – you know what I’m saying. I created the whole thing. By screwing up, if I had never screwed up, if I had just been more professional then none of this would even have happened.
Part III: Hadsell gets very emotional when talking about his former runners, says he’s geuinuinely sorry and apologizes to them and the girl who went to human resources and Deadspin, but denies harassing her and her allegations
Interviewer: “What would ou have to say to your former runners/current runners at this point. You know they see the headlines and you say you can’t them back. What would you have to say to them right now?
Kevin Hadsell: “I would say that I’m genuinely sorry. I had so much pride in all of this. (I’m) the person that built this whole thing up for them – that helped them create this – and it’s literally tarnished the whole thing,” said Hadsell as he wiped away a tear.
I don’t want them regretting their time at Toledo. I don’t want them regretting their time in the program – the time that they had with each other. That I’m genuinely sorry that all of this has happened and hopefully some day that many of them if they want to know the whole story or whatever it is – that they’ll reach out to me.
I’m sorry for the people that I’ve hurt. I’m even sorry that all of this is happening right now as it revolves around the person that started this human resources investigation, because no one wins in all of this. No one wins. No one ends up looking goods in any of this and it wouldn’t have happened if I would had just not let any of this happen in the first place. So like even that person you know. People that are just trying me as a human being – not necessarily defend my actions you know what I mean – some of them are saying terrible things about her and that’s ridiculous. She did what she did and she got her reasons for doing it. Both her and I – we know the truth.
2:08 Interviewer: What is the truth?
Kevin Hadsell: ” The truth is she knows I wasn’t harassing her. She knows that.
I can never undo those (Deadspin) headlines so I don’t know what I’m going to do. I know that I’m genuinely sorry. I know that I was wrong. I created all of this – all of this – none of this stuff should have happened. Eventually, I have to find someway to make this into a positive.
I have to – I mean I’m only 42 – I mean what am I going to do sit around for the next 60 years and do nothing and just dream about the day when I was coaching. Maybe I could be a valuable resource on what not to do.
Maybe my penance is I need to go out and I need be an advocate for people to be more professional and try to help other people from getting themselves into this position – talk to young coaches getting into coaching. If somebody wanted to know, “How can I be really good? How can I build a program like you had at Toledo but not yet screw it up and get fired and ruin it?” I think that would be my advice – you have to establish boundaries and you have to stick to them.
Extra Part IV – Not Aired on TV (Youtube Only). Hadsell explains in great detail why he texted a girl on the team, “You are literally to not run a step until I personally say it is ok. I’m fucking serious about this.” He also denies ever telling girls on the team they were fat.
Interviewer: There is an accusation saying that a girl wanted to go running and that you refused (to let) her run and that if she ran another step without your permission, she was for all intents and purposes in big trouble and that you would drive around her neighborhood trying to find if she was running
Hadsell: Ok here’s the deal. This is what I’m talking about in terms of what led to all of this. My relationship with the person who wanted to get me fired (LRC note: maybe he said who wound up getting me fired) – I never had a problem (with her). It’s one of those things where it’s somebody whom you are always interacting with and it’s always fun, funny, etcetera, etcetera – for four and a half years.
In September, we went to a meet. We came back. I felt as though physically that she looked too thin, ok. We don’t talk about weight in our program – which is some of the other allegations (that are out there) – we don’t talk about weight.
1:09 Interviewer: Did you ever tell girls they were fat?
Hadsell: “No I never told someone they were fat – ever.
Interviewer: Did you ever tell a girl on your team that girl on another team had a muffin top or looked fat?
Hadsell: I don’t really use the term muffin top, ok. That’s a term that kids use amongst themselves, ok. I will at times be at meets and I’ve explained this to other people on the team – people know what I’m talking about – and there will be somebody who has an atypical body type that’s doing really well – you know what I’m saying and I will point out that it’s amazing that that person is running that fast with that kind of (body) – with either being bigger or bigger build or whatever it is.
This is for guys and women. I mean there are men out there – Paul McMullen who was one of the greatest milers in US history who looked like a football player and so it’s the same kind of thing – it’s amazing that that person can run that fast.
So I point it out – any of my trainers, any of the team doctors will tell you that I’m the first line of defense when it comes to eating disorders and I try to educate everybody about making good decisions. You gotta realize not every skinny girl has an eating disorder. In any event, with the situation that you asked me about with the training. I thought this person looked too thin and I was concerned. I told her she needed to weigh in with the trainer so that the trainer could compare her weight to what she weight in at the beginning of the year, because at the beginning of the year, she weighed in with the doctor, and the doctor and myself and her sat down and had a conversation, “This is probably as light as we want you to go cause there are going to be some concerns about having your period and these kind of things.” This is a conversation with the doctor, me and her – and (it was told to her) if it goes lower coach Hadsell needs to intervene.
She kind of looked the same (for a while) but then in September I could start to see that she was getting too thin. She weighs in and she’s too thin so then I tell her, “For the next two weeks, you have to get your weight up. You can’t do any workouts. You can run and I’m going to alter your training until you get your weight back up to what the doctors wanted you to have your weight at.” So I had to alter it. And that’s tough for a distance runner to do as they are so motivated you know. So that’s in September.
We get back in November and I’m starting to see the same thing. The other girls. I send the training out once a week. And it’s one email for 15 years – everybody knows what everybody is doing. Part of the reason I do that is so people will hold each other accountable. It’s not like everybody is spying on each other or something like this but there is a tendency for people to over train in our sport. There is a tendency for people to do more than what is laid out on the thing.
4:17 Interviewer: So in regards to that, give me the context to when you later said to her, “You are literally not to run a step until I personally say it’s ok – I’m being serious about this.”
That was fourth conversation that I had to have with her in three weeks. This is when it all started bottling up. Those other conversations have been deleted off those screenshots (on deadspin) ok. I had a conversation with her in the middle of November because I walked by the training room on Wednesday and I saw her on the bike – again. When everybody in our program knows – you don’t cross train on Wednesday and yet I see her in there and she’s cross training – so that’s the middle of November. And then we have the same conversation when I hear she’s out doing morning runs on days that we’re not supposed to have morning runs.
I was told these things. Getting to the point where she said I was driving around, ok, I had already had four conversations with her, ok, and each conversation is getting worse and worse, where I’m just like, “I’m worried that you are starting to lose control here. Your training too much.” And she would admit to me when we would have the discussion about it that she just worried about getting out of shape. She was supposed to be on some down time and she’s just getting nervous and she’s like, “I know I’m being dumb about this.”
And I was like, “You gotta get control of this, because if you can’t show me that you can hold back on the training – that you can follow the training exactly to the t – I’m going to start worrying that you are dabbling with what I call the ‘Dark Side’ “And the dark side is girls that have lost control – lost control of their ability to reason when it comes to the training, ability to reason when it comes to their eating and these kind of things, it happens.
And I’ve got to do everything I can to make sure it doesn’t happen – you know what I mean? So I’m telling her (this). I fly back – like I said this is the fourth conversation in three weeks, each one getting worse. I flew back from Europe – I was there recruiting – I land and I have a multitude of texts from people because my phone didn’t work (in Europe) and one of the texts was from her. That text said, ‘Yesterday when I was out on my run, my knee popped – it swelled up and I had to stop the run.’
That’s the text before (my) text – which doesn’t exist – it’s been deleted off of there.
Literally the day before I left for Europe, I had had another argument with her about running when she wasn’t supposed to – literally the day before flying. So then I land and I hear this – it’s the same knee she had surgically repaired her freshman year and this is what I’m talking about. ‘This is why I’m telling you, you are overtraining – you are going to get hurt, you are going to screw this up.’ And I said, ‘I don’t care what the doctors. I don’t care what the trainers say in terms of clearing you. Even if they say that you can run, I’m telling you are not to run. You are only to swim all week – only swim all week. If you run, because this is getting out of control. If you run, even one step this week – I swear on my life I’m going to kick you off this team.’
I said that in a text if that’s in there (Deadspin) or not.
I said, ‘On my life, I will kick you off this team. I don’t care if you are an All-American. I’m not going to sit back and watch you systematically destroy your whole running career because you can’t hold back and run particularly now (this time of year) – knees aren’t supposed to pop and swell up’ I mean it’s not like you are running on your hands – you know.
So I told her, ‘Even one step, I swear on my life, I’ll kick you off this team.’ The very next day we are at practice at Secor Park. She’s only supposed to be swimming and I texted her, ‘Do not run. Ok, because I know you want to run. Do not run.’ She texts me back, ‘Okkkkk’ with a lot of kkkkks – kind of sarcastic.
We get back – it’s five o’clock in the afternoon. I drop the team off. I leave to go back to my house, because I went hunting that morning and I forgot to let the dogs out before I came into work. I drop the team off – I literally pull out of the campus and you pull out of campus onto Bancroft and you take a right, and you go under the overpass there, you can see I***** (some name with an I in it) golf course, right there on your left. I mean literally I’m not even a block away from campus and I’m going across the golf course and I look up, and she’s running right down the middle of the fairway – not even running on the thing that comes across there – she’s literally running right down the middle of the fairway.
And I was like, ‘In a million years, what are the odds of that?’ I’m not even past campus yet. I’m literally on Bancroft heading to my home. I turned around at the 7-Eleven to make sure that it was her and she’s just standing there on the fairway going like this (waving at Hadsell).
Literally, the day after I tell her, ‘I will literally kick you off this team – you are making bad decisions – I’m concerned about her health.’
I’m concerned about the fact that when she has these other texts that she’s kind of carved out – that I’m calling her whatever that she says. I’m literally having conversations with her, ‘I don’t think that you are ready. You need to grow up. You need to mature in your ability to hold back when you are supposed to hold back, because when you get to the next level, there’s not going to be somebody there holding you as accountable as we are here. And so, if you can’t make those decisions here when you have someone holding you accountable, how can you make those decisions when there is no one to hold you accountable?’
More/Discuss This Article on Our Messageboard:
*MB Discussion:Kevin Hadsell Denies The Deadspin Allegations
*MB Discussion: Toledo affiliate to air first of six-part interview with Kevin Hadsell tonight
*Toledo release announcing Hadsell’s resignation on Jan. 24
*Toledo Blade Article on Hadsell’s resignation
*MB Discussion: University of Toledo Coach Hadsell Resigns
*Deadspin Feb 12: “I’m Down For Drinks, Laughs, Sex”: The Sexual Harassment Claims That Brought Down Toledo’s Running Coach
*MB Discussion: Discussion of Deadspin’s Article: The Sexual Harassment Claims That Brought Down Toledo’s XC Coach
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