Michigan Fires Gymnastics Coach Rhonda Faehn Amid Connection to Larry Nassar

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2019

Rhonda Faehn, former Women's Program Director, USA Gymnastics, pauses as she testifies during a Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 5, 2018. The hearing is on
Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press

Michigan has fired assistant gymnastics coach Rhonda Faehn less than a week after she was hired following backlash because of her connection to Larry Nassar.

"I have come to the conclusion that it is not in the best interest of the University of Michigan and our athletic program to continue the consulting contract with Rhonda Faehn," athletic director Warde Manuel said Sunday, per David Jesse of the Detroit Free Press.

"It was the wrong decision, and I apologize. Our student-athletes are our highest priority and I want to do everything in my power to support them fully and put the focus back on their athletic performance."

Faehn, who was a senior vice president of USA Gymnastics, was hired on Jan. 10 and was at the team's most recent meet on Friday, per Anna Marcus of Michigan Daily.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Faehn is believed to be the first one in USA Gymnastics with knowledge of Nassar's criminal acts. The former team doctor admitted to sexually assaulting young girls, and more than 300 women and girls have said he assaulted them under the guise of treatment.

While Faehn was not legally implicated, she was removed from her position after Olympic medalist Aly Raisman called for her to step down.

Although Manuel said Faehn was hired after a "thorough review," several members of the Michigan Board of Regents immediately wanted her gone after learning about the situation, per Jesse.

"I do not support the hiring of Rhonda Faehn, and believe the university should end its relationship with her," Regent Mark Bernstein said.

Manuel said Michigan gymnastics head coach Bev Plocki, who is in her 30th season with the program, recommended the hire.

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