by Irvin Muchnick
Australia’s Daily Telegraph has been reporting that a coach there named Brian King, who is being investigated by Swimming Australia for allegedly abusing a number of children, also “falsified some of the credentials which assisted him in obtaining a number of high-profile jobs, including alongside top coach Denis Cotterell and at Penn State University.”
The Penn State reference is a doozy, since the Jerry Sandusky crimes, which were exposed in 2011-12, have become a kind of public consciousness shorthand for institutional cover-up. When I first began investigating swimming three years ago, I entitled an ebook short Penn State in the Pool. (That volume is still available at http://amzn.to/If3OFQ, or with a direct $1.49 PayPal payment to email@example.com.)
In fact, the USA Swimming abuse scandals, which of course have gotten far less media attention, far outstrip the scale, volume of victims, and endurance of the enabling of Sandusky by the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and by Graham Spanier, who would be fired from the university presidency and is now under criminal indictment.
Brian King coached one year at Penn State, 2009-10, under head swimming coach John Hargis. Multiple informed sources tell Concussion Inc. that Hargis quietly let King go after he had a sexual relationship with a Nittany Lions swimmer. Hargis himself left Happy Valley in 2013 for Auburn University, where he is the associate head coach.
Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour and the sports department PR office did not respond to an email request for comment for this story. We will forward this piece to Spanier’s successor as university president, Eric J. Barron, in an attempt to assist Penn State’s avowed new leaf of transparency and accountability.
Hargis and Auburn also did not return our message.
In case King’s 2009-10 Penn State swimming media guide bio gets scrubbed clean, we uploaded it to http://muchnick.net/briankingbio.pdf. The bio shows that, like now-banned coach Ad’m Dusenbury, King was granted an American Swimming Coaches Association fellowship — that is, unless his line regarding that was part of the falsifying of his résumé, of which he is also accused. ASCA and its executive director, John Leonard, always seem to have the backs of the wrong people.