College swimming: Utah hires new coach amid program investigation
The University of Utah has hired a new swimming and diving coach as it awaits the findings of an investigation of the team, its embattled former coach and the school's athletics department's handling of allegations of physical and psychological abuse of student athletes.
The U. announced late Monday afternoon it had hired former North Texas Coach Joe Dykstra to replace Greg Winslow, who was suspended from the team in February before the school decided it would not renew his contract.
"I couldn't be more excited to join the Utah program," said Dykstra, who spent seven years at North Texas and earned Sun Belt Conference co-coach of the year honors in 2013. "Utah has limitless potential and I am looking forward to building on its recent success and taking the program to new heights."
Dykstra will also have to pull the program from recent lows.
Winslow, the program's former leader, was suspended Feb. 28 amid allegations of sexual misconduct with a 15-year-old swimmer in 2007.
After reports of the investigation surfaced, however, Winslow came under fire after media reports shed light on years of written correspondence between swimmers, their families and the Utah athletics department, alleging abusive behavior by the coach. Those complaints included allegations of showing up drunk or hungover at practices; failing to report two swimmers who were caught buying marijuana on a trip to Arizona; punching an assistant coach; having an improper relationship with a female swimmer; and buying an underage swimmer beer.
Utah athletic director Chris Hill has declined to discuss his knowledge of the complaints that had been lodged over the years, saying he did not want to taint the investigation. But parents who talked to The Tribune said Hill was directly contacted on multiple occasions, dating back to late spring of 2009.
In a statement issued Monday, Hill said he was excited about Dykstra, who has Pac-12 experience as a University of Washington assistant of five years.
"We had some very good candidates apply for our position and we are very pleased that our top choice accepted the job," said Hill. "Joe's teams have succeeded in the pool and in the classroom, and his vision for the program matches our university's."