PREVIOUSLY IN THIS SERIES
by Irvin Muchnick and Tim Joyce
Greg Winslow, facing two felony charges of sexual abuse of a minor at the club program at Arizona State University, is out as head swim coach at the University of Utah. You may be wondering what happened to Winslow’s predecessor. We did, too. What we are finding paints a few more ugly brushstrokes on an already very bad picture.
The coach before Winslow was Mike Litzinger. This is not a chapter-and-verse on Litzinger’s career, though we’ll probably get to it. Rather, it’s a head-scratcher about why a head coach for a Division 1 program would go next to an assistant coach job. Litzinger took such a post at the University of North Carolina, where he is completing his sixth year. (The Tarheels have promoted him to associate head coach — the top aide to Rich DeSelm.)
It turns out that Mike Litzinger had all kinds of problems at Utah, too. Problems that sound very much like Greg Winslow’s.
“Charges of sexual harassment, underage drinking, verbal abuse and improper training have been leveled at the University of Utah swim team and coach Mike Litzinger,” reported the Daily Utah Chronicle on October 8, 2001. See http://www.dailyutahchronicle.com/?p=13160.
The allegations were made on the record by swimmer Brendon Bray, who transferred to the University of Washington, and Konrad Thiel, who quit the team. According to the Chronicle, Timothy J. Bray, Brendon’s father, wrote to athletic director Chris Hill that “Litzinger is detrimental to your athletes, your swim program and the integrity of the University of Utah,” and suggested action be taken against the coach.
Spokeswoman Liz Abel said, “In any case where an NCAA violation is implied, we research it when someone calls it to our attention. If these allegations are reported to us, the department and the university will take them seriously.”
We’re awaiting responses to emails sent to both Litzinger and the UNC sports information office.