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HomeSportsFarden out as gymnastics coach, Utah announces

Farden out as gymnastics coach, Utah announces



Nine days after being placed on paid leave, Tom Farden is out as the head gymnastics coach at the University of Utah.

The university announced the move in a statement Tuesday night, saying the parties had “mutually agreed to part ways, effective immediately.”

“The past several months have been an extremely challenging time for our gymnastics program,” athletic director Mark Harlan said in the statement. “Changes like this are never easy, and only come after extensive analysis and discussion. In this case, the decision provides necessary clarity and stability for our student-athletes and prevents further distraction from their upcoming season.”

Farden’s exit comes shortly after allegations of abuse from former Utah gymnasts Kara Eaker and Kim Tessen. Both wrote detailed accounts of their experiences with the team, and the toll it took on their mental health, in separate Instagram posts last month. Eaker said she had been diagnosed with “severe anxiety and depression, anxiety induced insomnia” after experiencing abuse while with the team, and Tessen called it an “abusive and toxic environment.”

Utah previously said the decision to place Farden on paid leave was “not related to student-athlete welfare” but did not provide further details. In a Washington Post story published Monday, Farden’s attorney, Brian C. Johnson, said his client would “likely take appropriate legal action” against Eaker and Tessen and called their statements “false.”

Farden and the team’s culture were the center of an investigation that concluded earlier this fall. Husch Blackwell, an external law firm, determined that Farden “did not engage in any severe, pervasive or egregious acts of emotional or verbal abuse of student-athletes” and “did not engage in any acts of physical abuse, emotional abuse or harassment as defined by SafeSport Code.”

He was found to have made an offensive comment to a gymnast on the team, but other reported comments could “not be independently corroborated and were denied by Coach Farden,” according to the firm.

He also “more likely than not threw a stopwatch and a cellular telephone in frustration in the presence of student-athletes,” but the investigation found such behavior was “not repeated or severe.”

Eaker called the investigation “incomplete at best” in her Instagram post.

Farden had been the head coach at Utah since 2020 and previously was the co-head coach and an assistant coach with the program.

“The University of Utah has been my home for a decade, and it is difficult to say goodbye, but the time has come for me to embark on a new chapter,” Farden said in the school-issued statement. “I am immensely proud of the young women who have poured their hearts and souls into Utah gymnastics during my time here and who have brought so much to this community.”

Carly Dockendorf, who had been the associate head coach prior to Farden’s leave, will remain the interim head coach for the 2024 season.





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