Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
The exiled Toledo cross country coach addresses some of the allegations in the Deadspin/Toledo Blade stories, owns up to mistakes that should have cost him his job, and admits to new faults not seen in either report.
It's about time to hear his side of the story. The Deadspin article was the most damning piece of journalism I had ever read toward a MAC coach, and despite their attempts to reach him, he didn't respond back. He was quoted a couple times in the Blade article, but this past weekend he chose to talk to Will Kunkel of WNWO for his side of the story.
I watched the whole thing, and so can you:
Here are the key takeaways from this interview:
• Maybe I missed it in the previous articles, but I had never heard of accusations that Hadsell's assistant coaches were dating/sleeping with runners. But Hadsell came right out and said it was happening under his watch, and he failed to report it up the chain, or turned "a blind eye" to it, and that was a violation of university policy.
• He denies sexually harassing anybody. I'm not an expert in this particular field but I don't think sexual harassment always has to be done on purpose. He could have put his runners in uncomfortable positions despite himself thinking he wasn't doing anything wrong. Or he might have fallen to the trap often described by Robin Williams: God gave Man a brain and a penis but not enough blood to supply both at the same time.
• He admits to drinking a couple times during practice and once having some alcohol prior to driving the team van. Whether he was drunk or not, he fully owns up to all of this.
• The fourth video in that playlist is by far the longest and addresses the incident where the runner was not allowed to practice running, his version of the story was that he was afraid the runner was losing too much weight and didn't want her re-injuring her knee until she was at a safe weight to run again.
And this is where we get back into a circular debate over a set of conflicting stories and viewpoints despite perhaps a coexistent set of facts, armed with nothing but Occam's razor and an opinion. In the end, Emma Kertesz was not comfortable with being in the Toledo cross country program, and neither were other runners, so she stood up and made her voice known. For that she's brave and should be commended. It's not easy to stand up and question authority.
As for Hadsell, after watching the video I am not sure what to believe. Choosing what details are correct, at this point, is an exercise in futility, because what is real is that mistakes did exist and warranted a chance in coaches. But since I believe in the power of good in humanity, I choose to think that he was contrite in this interview. He realizes that he spent 15 years building something good, yet other actions helped bring it crumbling down. If he has the power to mentor upcoming coaches and prevent future misdeeds, that would be a great positive. It's never about what one does wrong, because we all goof, but how one responds in the future.