Utah has placed gymnastics coach Tom Farden on paid administrative leave following abuse allegations leveled last month by two former female gymnasts.
The university confirmed Sunday night with ESPN that Farden’s leave is effective immediately.
“This action comes after recent conduct and actions by Coach Farden not related to student-athlete welfare, which simply do not align with our values and expectations,” a statement provided to ESPN read.
Associate head coach Carly Dockendorf was named interim head coach. Utah’s 2024 season will begin Jan. 5 against Boise State.
Farden, 49, was an assistant coach for the Utes from 2010-15 before being elevated to co-head coach from 2015-19. He has been Utah’s sole head coach since 2020.
Former Utah gymnast Kara Eaker announced her retirement in an Instagram post last month, adding that she was also withdrawing from the school.
“For two years, while training with the Utah Gymnastics team, I was a victim of verbal and emotional abuse,” Eaker wrote Oct. 20. “As a result, my physical, mental, and emotional health has rapidly declined. I had been seeing a university athletics psychologist for a year and a half and I’m now seeing a new provider twice a week because of suicidal and self-harm ideation and being unable to care for myself properly.
“I have recently been diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression, anxiety induced insomnia, and I suffer from panic attacks, PTSD, and night terrors.”
Oct. 24, former Utah gymnast Kim Tessen wrote about an “abusive and toxic environment” in the program.
“I was verbally attacked without any signs of sympathy several times,” Tessen wrote. “My physical boundaries were also violated several times because these aggressive interactions would often occur with him yelling and pointing uncomfortably close at my face.
“Because of these types of interactions towards myself and witnessing it happening to others, I experienced even more fear.”
Whereas Eaker did not name any coaches directly in her post, Tessen referenced “Tom” throughout her statement.
At the time, a Utah spokesperson declined ESPN’s request for comments on the posts made by Eaker and Tessen.
–Field Level Media
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