Texas track coach Bev Kearney resigns, admits affair with athlete

Bev Kearney in 2011.
(Ralph Barrera / Associated Press)
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Bev Kearney, a Hall of Fame track coach at the University of Texas, has resigned due to an “intimate consensual relationship” with a Longhorns athlete in 2002.

A statement released by the school Saturday reads in part:

“Coach Bev Kearney informed The University of Texas at Austin today that she is resigning her position as head coach of the Women’s Track and Field program effective immediately. Coach Kearney also had advised the Austin American-Statesman of her decision.


“Coach Kearney told the Austin American-Statesman that she had had an intimate consensual relationship beginning in 2002 with an adult, then a student-athlete in her program, and that the University had begun to review this relationship when it was reported by the former student-athlete in late October, 2012. ...

“Based upon the review, the University does not believe that Coach Kearney had any similar relationships with student-athletes either before or after the reported relationship, which began about 10 1/2 years ago and ended at least about eight years ago. Coach Kearney is a good person and has been very important to the University. However, she made this terrible mistake and used unacceptably poor judgment in having this relationship.

“The University determined that it no longer was appropriate for Coach Kearney to serve as head coach or to work directly with our student-athletes and was prepared to begin the termination process. This was discussed with Coach Kearney recently. The University told Coach Kearney that we cannot condone such an intimate relationship, including one that is consensual, between a head coach and a student-athlete. We told Coach Kearney such a relationship is unprofessional and crosses the line of trust placed in the head coach for all aspects of the athletic program and the best interests of the student-athletes on the team.”

“You destroy yourself. You start questioning how could you make such a judgment,” Kearney told the American-Statesman. “How could you make such an error after all the years? You can get consumed.”

Kearney’s attorney, Derek A. Howard, issued a statement, which said in part: “We believe that Ms. Kearney has been subjected to a double standard and has received far harsher punishment than that being given to her male counterparts who have engaged in similar conduct. It is a shame that this remarkably talented female African-American coach, who has devoted her life to helping others, is being bullied and scapegoated by the University of Texas.”

Kearney gained nationwide fame after she was partially paralyzed in a car accident that killed two of her friends in 2002. Thrown more than 50 feet from the vehicle, she suffered extensive spinal injuries but learned to walk again.


Kearney is the first African American coach to win an NCAA national team championship in Division I track and field, and she was the first African American to serve as a head coach at Texas.


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