Utah gymnastics coach Tom Farden placed on administrative leave

The U. said Farden was being placed on paid leave for “recent conduct and actions” that “simply do not align with our values and expectations.”

Utah gymnastics coach Tom Farden has been placed on administrative leave, the U.’s Athletics Department said in a statement Sunday night.

Farden had been the subject of an investigation concerning his treatment of his athletes, but the university’s statement said the action against Farden was “not related to student-athlete welfare.” Instead, the statement said, Farden was being placed on paid leave for “recent conduct and actions” that “simply do not align with our values and expectations.”

The U. said associated head coach Carly Dockendorf would serve as the team’s interim head coach.

Utah hired a law firm, Husch Blackwell, in June to investigate Farden after after multiple women met with the university’s Student-Athlete Advocate to voice complaints about Farden’s treatment of them.

The investigation found that while his behavior caused some athletes to feel an “increased fear of failure,” it did not rise to the level of “severe, pervasive or egregious” acts of abuse as defined by the NCAA and SafeSport.

Multiple gymnasts told investigators that Farden threw objects in anger, according to a report released by the university. Farden also admitted to investigators that he once told a gymnast she would be a “nobody working at a gas station” if not for the U. The Utah athletics department said in September that it would implement a number of recommendations from investigators, including putting Farden on a performance improvement plan.

Gymnast Kara Eaker, a former Olympic alternate, then announced last month she was retiring from the sport, alleging she was a victim of “verbal and emotional abuse” at the U.

“During my recruiting process, I was promised a ‘family’ within this program and a ‘sisterhood’ with my teammates, who would accept me, care for me and support me,” Eaker’s announcement read in part. “But instead, after I entered as a freshman, I was heartbroken to find the opposite in that I was training in an unhealthy, unsafe and toxic environment.”

Eaker also claimed the investigation into Farden’s behavior was “incomplete at best.”

Farden has been the Red Rocks sole head coach for four years. The coach has led the team to four consecutive Pac-12 regular season titles, and three third-place finishes in the NCAA Championships.