Accusations of abuse and racial insensitivity by former Florida women’s basketball coach Cam Newbauer surfaced Monday during a report by The Independent Florida Alligator.
The article, authored by student journalist Zachary Huber, states that the school’s University Athletic Association was aware of Newbauer’s behavior and investigated the allegations but failed to mitigate the toxic environment in the coach’s program.
The school then announced last spring Newbauer had agreed to a three-year extension including a clause that he would receive one year’s base salary ($283,000) if he were to be terminated. Six weeks later on July 16, he resigned, citing personal reasons.
Five former players described to The Alligator remarks by Newbauer meant to belittle players as well as assistant coaches, and, in particular, demean Black members of the team for their appearance. Newbauer reportedly threw basketballs at players, hitting one in her injured leg.
Cydnee Kinslow, a graduate transfer on the 2020-2021 team, alleged a former player even attempted suicide before eventually quitting the team and returning home.
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According to the report, former players Sydney Morang, Jalaysha Thomas and Tameria Johnson met with longtime executive associate athletic director Lynda Tealer to discuss Newbauer’s alleged abuse. Each player signed with Newbauer’s predecessor, Amanda Butler, and players accused their new coach of ridding the team of those he did not recruit.
Tealer reportedly took notes about the claims and told the players their concerns would be investigated. Morang told The Alligator she was never contacted.
UF released a statement Monday from athletic director Scott Stricklin.
“The culture of the women’s program under Head Coach Cam Newbauer described in The Independent Florida Alligator article is in no way consistent with the values of the University of Florida,” Stricklin said in the statement. “At times during Coach Newbauer’s tenure there were concerns brought to our attention. Each time, additional information was sought, and these concerns were addressed directly with Cam as we required corrective actions and outlined clear expectations of behavior moving forward.”
UF increased administrative oversight and elicited feedback directly from players and staff, according to the statement.
“Ultimately, we did not see the required improvements,” Stricklin’s statement concluded. “Following discussions with Coach Newbauer he made the decision to resign.”
Newbauer’s March 2017 hiring away from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, was Stricklin’s first of a head coach while Gators athletic director. Newbauer had been fully vetted prior to UF’s hire. A UF source said the school interviewed players, parents, former assistant coaches, Belmont athletic department colleagues and even some people from around the Ohio Valley Conference, the Bruins’ conference.
But Newbauer struggled in Gainesville.
Newbauer, a 43-year-old Indiana native earning $500,000 annually, compiled a 46-71 record during four seasons, including a meager 15-47 mark in SEC play. But Stricklin stuck with Newbauer, who had one season remaining on a five-year deal.
“Cam is building his program the right way and making steady progress,” Stricklin said at the time. “It’s important that he have the time needed to continue that progress.”
The UF source said the concerns about Newbauer surfaced early in his tenure. Prior to signing Newbauer to an extension, school officials were confident things had improved after speaking regularly to players and parents.
But Newbauer’s abusive behavior eventually resumed and led to his departure, according to the source.
Huber also spoke to Morang’s brother, Jordan, who at one time was a practice player with the team. Upon Newbauer’s arrival, Jordan soon quit because he “couldn’t handle watching Newbauer scream at the athletes and coaching staff.”
The mother of Mikayla Hayes, a Butler recruit who left UF to join the coach at Clemson, also spoke to The Alligator. Dana Joubert, Hayes’ mother, detailed her daughter’s deteriorating physical and mental state during her short time playing for Newbauer.
“He broke my child,” Joubert told Huber. “She was truly broken, and he beat her down. And she didn’t want me to say anything because she thought it would get worse.”
Kinslow, Huber wrote, accused Newbauer of microaggressive and discriminatory comments to Black players, once telling them he liked their hair but would not touch it because he wasn’t supposed to do so.
Kinslow further alleged interim head coach Kelly Rae Finley, a Newbauer assistant promoted to replace him, “did everything she could to sweep it under the rug.”
Huber’s report also included an email from Stricklin addressing the concerns of Morang’s parents.
“Thank you for taking the time to write to me,” Stricklin, now in his fifth year at UF, wrote. “It is truly important to me and everyone on our staff that Gator student-athletes have a valuable experience, and we are always open to learning how we can improve … Lynda Tealer met with Sydney and two other members of the women’s basketball team.
“We will consider all the information we have received and work to make enhancements that improves the experience for our students.”