UT women’s track and field head coach Bev Kearney has announced she is resigning from the University, effective immediately, after being placed on paid administrative leave in November pending an official investigation.
Kearney, a seven-time NCAA championship-winning coach, told the Austin American-Statesman that she unknowingly violated a university rule when she participated in a “consensual intimate relationship” with an “adult student-athlete” 10 years ago—starting in July 2002 and continuing until Kearney was paralyzed in an automobile accident that following December.
The rule, found in UT’s Handbook of Operating Procedures, requires UT faculty or staff members to report any relationship with an “employee, student, and/or student employee who is directly supervised, taught, evaluated, or advised by that employee.”
In a statement for the University, vice president for legal affairs Patti Ohlendorf said the student-athlete reported the relationship to UT officials in late October. Kearney was placed on paid leave shortly thereafter.
“The University determined that it no longer was appropriate for Coach Kearney to serve as head coach or to work directly with our student-athletes and was prepared to begin the termination process,” Ohlendorf said. “… We told Coach Kearney such a relationship is unprofessional and crosses the line of trust placed in the head coach for all aspects of the athletic program and the best interests of the student-athletes on the team.”
Ohlendorf goes on to say the University has no reason to believe Kearney participated in any similar relationships prior to or following the reported relationship.
During her 19 years at UT, Kearney—a Hall of Famer and the most successful coach in UT’s women’s athletic department—led Texas to six national championship wins. According to the Statesman, Kearney says her immediate plan is to remain in Austin and run the Pursuit of Dreams Foundation, a nonprofit she started that uses coaching methods to help others reach their goals.
“I love Austin, I love the University of Texas, I love my community,” Kearney said to the Statesman. “I feel like I’ve served it with all my heart and soul. More than anything else, I apologize to all those entities if in any way anything that I have done has brought embarrassment to anyone.”
Longtime Texas assistant coach Rose Brimmer will take over as interim women’s track and field head coach.
Photo by Skip Hobbie.