by Tim Joyce and Irvin Muchnick
University of Utah sources have told Concussion Inc. that senior associate athletics director Pete Oliszczak, who has long ties to fired swim coach Greg Winslow, departed the university in circumstances related to two separate investigations of Winslow’s sexual misconduct both there and at Arizona State University.
Oliszczak joined the Utah administration in 2004, three years before Winslow was hired as head swimming coach. The two knew each other from when Winslow was an All-American swimmer at the University of North Dakota, and Oliszczak was in the middle of his 11 years as an athletic administrator there.
There is some confusion over the timing and circumstances of Oliszczak’s departure. Campus sources say the university quietly severed ties with him last November, the same month the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (OEO) began an investigation of complaints relating to Winslow’s alleged racism, alcohol abuse, unprofessionalism, unsafe training methods, and sexual harassment.
Oliszczak’s LinkedIn profile still identifies him as senior associate athletics director at Utah, but the staff directory at the Utah athletic department website no longer lists him. Our sources say that the university made no formal announcement in November, and the official story was that he was taking a leave due to a family emergency.
We contacted both athletic department spokeswoman Liz Abel and university spokesman Keith Sterling regarding Oliszczak’s history and status. As this article was being published, we had not heard back from them. We will add their statements or comments, if any, later.
The Oliszczak news comes in a week when the university is clearly in scramble or damage-control mode. Utah was embarrassed by the release of the ASU police report recommending two felony charges against Winslow for alleged sexual abuse of an underage club swimmer in Arizona, who later also swam for Winslow for one year at Utah — a story Concussion Inc. broke last week. But the university was additionally criticized for the dubious claim that it was blindsided by the ASU report, since the Utah OEO was investigating Winslow over roughly the same period, and even interviewing some of the same witnesses.
This week Utah has emphasized that Krista Pickens, director of the OEO, worked previously in the Salt Lake City sex crimes unit. And our sources say Pickens has been reaching out aggressively in recent days to persons who felt they got short shrift from university investigative resources in their past complaints about Winslow.
With the volume of complaints against Winslow that were fielded by the athletic department and the university administration in recent years, Utah is likely to be dealing for some time with the fallout of his coaching regime.
P.S.: In response to our report Thursday afternoon, Utah athletic director Chris Hill issued a one-sentence statement: “Pete Oliszczak’s departure from the University of Utah was unrelated to the allegations against Greg Winslow.” Asked when and why Oliszczak left, senior associate athletics director for communications Liz Abel said, “We’ll stick with the statement.”