Towson removes 3 swimming coaches, withdraws from upcoming invite to 'refocus'
TOWSON, Md. (WBFF) -- Towson University has removed three swimming coaches from their duties one month after a smart phone was discovered in the women's locker room.
In a statement released Tuesday, the university says Jake Shrum has been named acting head coach of swimming and Tim Perkins was recently hired as the temporary diving coach.
The statement does not mention who the two are replacing, but the Towerlight, Towson's student newspaper, reported that veteran head coach Pat Mead and his wife, diving coach Maureen Mead, have been placed on administrative leave.
The Towerlight reported that Adrienne Phillips, another assistant swimming coach, has also been placed on administrative leave.
Swim team members had threatened to boycott the team's Thursday meet in Pittsburgh in protest of how the university had responded to complaints about the hidden smart phone. A parent of one of the swimmers told FOX45, "These aren't just pictures or conversations. There were body parts shown that were not covered in this video."
In the same statement, Towson University said, "In consultation with the coach and the team, Towson Swimming and Diving will not participate in the Pittsburgh Invite this weekend in order to refocus, recover and regroup and to prepare to restart the competition schedule in January. Both Interim President Timothy Chandler and Athletic Director Tim Leonard understand the frustration expressed by some members of the team with the timeline. However we must follow due process to ensure the correct actions are taken. It is imperative that we are working with information that is accurate, complete and verified in order to make these difficult decisions."
A male member of the swim team, who did not want to be identified, told FOX45 that the university's response is vindication to the concerns raised by student athletes.
"This is a great step for the program and a great opportunity for growth," said the male swimmer.
Cody Boteler, senior editor at the Towerlight newspaper, says he spoke this week with seven members of the swim team who were very frustrated with what they felt was a lack of progress in bringing the investigation to a conclusion.
Boteler said, "They (swimmers) couldn't talk to members of the coaching staff for obvious reasons because they thought maybe the phone was a coaching staff member's. They couldn't go to the administration because they kept getting these questions and answers like, 'Oh we don't know, it's an active investigation, we can't say anything yet,' so they decided, let's try to get some attention and get people talking about this and maybe it'll bring some answers to us."
A male swimmer who spoke with FOX45 says other swimmers would still like to see criminal charges filed against whomever is responsible for placing the smart phone in the women's locker room.