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Rutgers names permanent replacements for ousted swimming and diving coach Petra Martin

by ZwemZa on December 7th, 2017
After parting ways with embattled coach Petra Martin, Rutgers named co-head coaches.(Keith Sargeant | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

After parting ways with embattled coach Petra Martin, Rutgers named co-head coaches.(Keith Sargeant | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

After parting ways with Rutgers women’s swimming and diving coach Petra Martin last month, athletic director Pat Hobbs was asked whether he planned to dig deeper into allegations that Martin was abusive toward her athletes.

“Right now it is in the best interests of our students to let them be students and get back in the pool to train and compete,” Hobbs told NJ Advance Media. “We will continue to review and assess the program. The university will always look to improve upon the processes and procedures that we have in place for assuring successful academic and athletic experiences for our student athletes. Finding the right leadership for our swimming and diving team is the first step in assuring that outcome.”

Hobbs did that Wednesday by naming permanent replacements for Martin, who was fired on Nov. 17 following an NJ Advance Media investigation into allegations of abuse in the swimming program.

Martin, according to interviews with  former swimmers and parents of athletes who were on the team, shamed athletes over their weight, used abusive language during training sessions and demanded they stop using medication prescribed by their doctors for anxiety and other issues.

In the wake of Martin’s ouster, Hobbs named the program’s longtime diving specialist, Frederick Woodruff, as the interim coach. On Wednesday, Hobbs said Woodruff will serve as the co-head coach along with Jon Maccoll, who joined the staff shortly before this season, effective immediately.

“In a very short time, Fred and Jon have proven themselves capable leaders for our swimming and diving program,” Hobbs said in a statement. “They have my confidence, but perhaps more importantly, they have the confidence of our student-athletes and all those who support our program.”

Hiring co-head coaches in swimming and diving is not unusual in college athletics. Last week, the swimming and diving teams competed at different sites, with the swimming squad competing in the Texas Invitational and the diving team participating in a meet at Princeton.

Woodruff, who joined the Rutgers swimming and diving program in 1993, has guided six divers to the NCAA Championships over the three seasons since the Scarlet Knights joined the Big Ten.

“I’m really excited about this,” Woodruff said. “Working with Jon these last few weeks has turned into a productive partnership. It’s exciting we’ll get the opportunity to continue that. Regardless of who was named coach, this is the best thing for the women on this team. This team deserves to have a stable and strong coaching staff, and this announcement makes that possible.”

Maccoll arrived at Rutgers in late October after serving as head coach at University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota, where he launched the school’s first women’s swimming team in 2016.

“I’m excited to accept this role and I’m proud that Rutgers has faith in me,” Maccoll said. “I look forward to being on deck with the tremendous young women we have in our program.”

Keith Sargeant

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