For the second time this year, the Yale women’s soccer team has found itself without a head coach. Brendan Faherty was released from his position on Wednesday after a story in the Yale Daily News revealed a 2009 sexual misconduct allegation at the University of New Haven, in which he was accused of demanding that a player sleep in his bed and groped her breasts, per the New York Times.
The Yale Daily News interviewed seven former players who claimed that Faherty, who coached at UNH from 2002-2009, had a history of “abusing his position.” One player also said that she had a consensual sexual relationship with Faherty while he was her coach and for “several years” after she left the team:
In addition to these allegations, several former players, speaking on condition of anonymity due to fear of retribution, community ties and privacy concerns, described a culture of impropriety on Faherty’s team. Three former players told the News that they drank with the coach while they were players, and three others — who did not drink with Faherty themselves — confirmed that the coach frequently met with players at bars. Several of these players noted that Faherty was close in age to his players. He began coaching at the age of 24.
Yale Daily News first told the university about their findings Monday of this week; by Wednesday, Faherty was no longer an employee. Nate Nickerson, Vice President of Communications at Yale, told the Daily News that Faherty was hired late last year “following the background check and careful review of previous employment conducted in every such hiring” and that none of the allegations had been uncovered in the vetting process. Until a new head coach can be chosen, the team will be lead by assistant coaches Sarah Mendez and Sade Ayinde. Wow, women coaching a women’s soccer team—an unheard-of concept.
While the NCAA doesn’t explicitly ban sexual relationships between coaches and players over the age of consent, the ruling body does consider those relationships “abusive” due to the power dynamics that would make it incredibly difficult to establish mutual consent.
After the Yale Daily News story was published, Faherty’s legal team released the following statement:
Mr. Faherty is deeply disappointed in the allegations from more than ten years ago that have been made in the Yale Daily News and the actions taken by Yale University in response to the report. He denies having engaged in any non-consensual relationships. He further denies having any inappropriate sexual interaction or contact of any kind. Based upon the report, he is no longer employed at Yale.
UNH has hired an independent firm to investigate the allegations.