I’ve led a very successful rebellion of this sort (the primary difference being that I had a fantastic successor in mind that I knew the school would be onboard with).
If you’re likening these athletes to “SJWs”, you’re misunderstanding the situation.
All a college athlete (especially of UW’s caliber) wants is to be successful. This coach had an approach that did not receive feedback from his athletes. That approach is incredibly ineffective with any training program, but especially in one where the athletes are balancing academic responsibilities with their athletic responsibilities.
His approach also lacked unconditional support. A coach’s primary function is to instill confidence in his athletes and to be a vessel for his athletes to displace their anxieties and insecurities. When a coach is manipulative and cannot be trusted, it can ruin an athlete as both a competitor and a human being (because athletes of that ability level/age place so much of their identities into their sport).
These runners are not overreacting. They are righting a wrong. They have plenty of evidence to support their claim and made the correct decision by fighting to have the coach removed.
To any athletic directors who read these boards, just because a coach has experienced some success and possibly even improved your program, that does not mean he is a good coach. If you’ve had multiple complaints from parents/athletes, you need to investigate them thoroughly. Your failure to act can lead to terrible consequences (such as injuries, eating disorders, etc...) for the athletes that are in your care.
PS - Just for clarification, I do believe it is a coaches job to point out when a runner is overweight, but there are proper and improper ways to do so.