Beverly Kearney

A brief survey of some peer institutions’ policies regarding consensual romantic relationships between university employees and students found that universities discourage student-employee relationships even if they do not prohibit them.

In January, Beverly Kearney, former women’s track and field head coach, resigned after the University told her they were prepared to fire her for having a relationship with a student-athlete in her program about 10 years ago. 

Last month, an open records request by The Daily Texan found that football co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite engaged in “inappropriate, consensual behavior” with an unnamed student in 2009.

According to the University Policy Office, UT “strongly discourages” consensual relationships between University employees and the students or student employees they supervise, which may create a conflict of interest.

“Such relationships also contain the potential for exploitation of the subordinate employee, student or student employee and the possible professional or academic disadvantage of third parties, and can subject both the University and individuals to the risk of liability,” the policy states.

Some peer institutions have instituted similar policies concerning consensual relationships between students and university employees. Each policy is concerned with preventing conflicts of interest brought about by relationships between employees in supervisory roles and students in subordinate positions, though most do not expressly prohibit them.

In 1995, the American Association of University Professors adopted a policy advising faculty to be aware of their professional responsibilities and take any measures necessary to avoid actual and perceived conflicts of interest. Similar to UT, it does not prohibit these relationships.

“When a sexual relationship exists, effective steps should be taken to ensure unbiased evaluation or supervision of the student,” the AAUP policy states.

In 2005, Texas A&M University clarified its policy regarding consensual relationships between employees and students to align it with the association. A&M’s policy condemns the practice of supervisors engaging in amorous relationships with those who they supervise.

Some policies are more strongly worded than others.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill prohibits consensual relationships between university employees and students who are enrolled in a course taught by those employees or who are in a position that requires employees to supervise them or evaluate their performance.

In contrast, the academic personnel manual at the University of California system, which includes UT peer institutions such as the UC-Berkeley and UC-Los Angeles, discourages consensual relationships between faculty and students but does not prohibit them. 

“Whenever a faculty member is responsible for academic supervision of a student, a personal relationship between them of a romantic or sexual nature, even if consensual, is inappropriate,” the policy states. “Any such relationship jeopardizes the integrity of the educational process.”

Published on February 27, 2013 as "Reviewing relationship policies". 

Recently promoted co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite and men’s athletics director DeLoss Dodds both released statements last Friday regarding “inappropriate, consensual” behavior with a student during the days leading up to the 2009 Fiesta Bowl. (Daily Texan file photo)

Photo Credit: Marisa Vasquez | Daily Texan Staff

Texas co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite engaged in “inappropriate, consensual behavior with an adult student” in 2009, according to a statement released by UT men’s head athletics director DeLoss Dodds on Friday night.

The incident took place during the 2009 Fiesta Bowl, when Applewhite served as running backs coach. The identity of the student was not revealed.

“Several years ago, I made a regretful decision resulting in behavior that was totally inappropriate,” Applewhite said in a separate statement also released Friday night. “It was a one-time occurrence and was a personal matter. Shortly after it occurred, I discussed the situation with DeLoss Dodds. I was upfront and took full responsibility for my actions. This is and was resolved four years ago with the University.”

According to a letter obtained by The Daily Texan through the Texas Public Information Act from Dodds to Applewhite dated Feb. 5, 2009, the department froze Applewhite’s salary for the rest of the year and required him to schedule an initial session with a licensed professional counselor.

“As we discussed, some of your conduct in Arizona during the Fiesta Bowl week was inappropriate and falls below the standards we expect of our coaches and staff,” Dodds said in the letter.

Applewhite’s admission comes on the heels of the resignation of Beverly Kearney, former women’s track and field head coach. Kearney admitted in October to an “intimate consensual relationship” in 2002 with an adult student-athlete in the track and field progra. The University placed her on administrative leave before notifying her in January that it was prepared to begin the termination process, at which point she resigned.

Dodds said in his statement released Friday that he believes the appropriate discipline was taken in regard to Applewhite.

“In determining appropriate discipline, we analyze the facts and circumstances surrounding the behavior and its relation to job responsibilities,” Dodds said. “Major fully accepted his discipline, including counseling. We have high standards for behavior and expect our staff and coaches to adhere to them in all aspects of their lives.”

Applewhite, a former Longhorn quarterback, joined the coaching staff in 2008 as an assistant head coach before being promoted to co-offensive coordinator in January 2011. He became the sole offensive coordinator after Bryan Harsin accepted the head coaching job at Arkansas State in December.

Applewhite said he and his wife, Julie, worked to put the incident behind them through counseling.

“I am regretful for my mistake and humbled by this experience,” he said. “I am deeply sorry for the embarrassment it has caused my friends, family and the University. I appreciate all of them. I’ve learned and grown from this and look forward to my work at Texas.”

Published on February 4, 2013 as "Coach pardoned". 

New women’s track and field head coach Rose Brimmer comes to Texas with a versatile resume and optimistic attitude.  The team will compete in Houston this weekend.   

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

When women’s athletics director Chris Plonsky told Rose Brimmer she would become interim head coach upon Beverly Kearney’s resignation, Brimmer first contacted her husband.

“Really?” he said.

Leo Brimmer wasn’t fazed. Brimmer’s daughter, Bria, set the South Carolina State University record for most single-season assists when playing on its volleyball team, and her son, Brodney, has experience playing defensive back at OU and in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets. And Rose? Her sports career has leaped far beyond her college hurdle experience: from volleyball and track and field captain at the former Texas A&I University in Kingsville to coaching in the high school arena and at Texas.

Rose Brimmer began work at Westbury High School in Houston in 1986. Teaching and coaching athletes to the national level, Brimmer’s athletic oversight included track and field, cross country, basketball and volleyball. But when the Longhorn staff wanted an addition, Brimmer seized the opportunity. 

“I came here as a sprints and hurdles coach but I became a field events coach because I did jumps and sprints in college,” Brimmer said. “I hadn’t done throws but I acquired it when I got here.”

Joining the UT staff in the 2004-05 season, Brimmer mentored then-sophomore Michelle Carter as she broke the school shot put record. Since then, she has guided the high jumps of All-American Victoria Lucas and NCAA champion Destinee Hooker, the long jumps of 4-time NCAA champion Marshevet Hooker, Destinee’s older sister, and NCAA champion Alexandria Anderson and the pole vault of Ashley Laughlin. Lucas and the Hooker sisters went on to compete in the Olympics.

“Because I’ve coached everything now for quite some time, I think I know a little bit about everything,” Brimmer said. “I can go from event to event and actually know what I’m talking about.”

Before Brimmer’s ninth season this year, Kearney resigned as head coach of the women’s track and field program. UT head coach since 1993, the highly decorated Kearney admitted to an intimate consensual relationship with a student-athlete in her program beginning in 2002. Although the reported relationship ended about eight years ago, the University “determined it was no longer appropriate for Coach Kearney to serve as head coach or to work directly with our student-athletes,” according to a statement released by Patti Ohlendorf, vice president for legal affairs.

Brimmer finds Kearney influenced her coaching style tremendously.

“I came in here winning so I always knew how to win but I’ve learned to set higher goals from Coach Kearney — she never gives up,” Brimmer said. “I never have [either] but I learned from working with her that it was OK to be that way.”

Brimmer now oversees the long sprinters, throwers and the jumpers while assistant coach Stephen Sisson guides distance runners. To fill the vacancy of a third coaching position, longtime volunteer assistant coach Michelle Freeman assumed the role of interim assistant coach, a UT spokeswoman confirmed to The Daily Texan on Tuesday. With three Olympics under her belt, a 1997 World Indoor Championship in 60-meter hurdles and four school records at Florida, Freeman moved from team strength coach last season to short sprints. 

The juggled staff hasn’t changed its goal: to gain confidence and a national championship, Brimmer said. But it has altered its strategy.

“We’re putting more people in more events,” Brimmer said. “A lot of times we’d specialize and just have them do one event to try and get a max. But [now] if they’re good at two, we’re putting them in two and hoping they’re scoring in both.”

Brimmer remains optimistic, believing the team boasts stronger quarter-milers this season and sophomore sprinters “a year older, a year wiser, a year better.”

With her increased leadership and a squad brimming with talent, Brimmer coaches as she always has: by teaching.

“Compared to most collegiate coaches, I was a teacher for twenty years,” Brimmer said. “I’m a teacher first and a coach second.”

The women’s track and field team competes this weekend at the UH Leonard Hilton Invite.

Published on January 16, 2013 as "Brimmer brings experience, determination to succeed". 

Beverly Kearney, a University track coach who was placed on paid leave Nov. 11, was the discussion of a pay raise shortly before her suspension, according to documents released by the University on Friday.

According to an Associated Press article, women’s athletics director Chris Plonsky wrote to University president William Powers Jr. on Sept. 24 requesting a pay raise for Kearney.

Kearney was placed on paid administrative leave Nov. 11 for reasons not disclosed by the University. She is described on Texas Sports as “one of the most successful and decorated coaches across all of collegiate athletics.”

According to an email sent by the Department of Athletics earlier this month, “The University of Texas is reviewing issues pertaining to its women’s track and field program. Until this process is completed, head coach Beverly Kearney will be on paid administrative leave.”

Kearney, 54, became head coach of the women’s track and field, and cross country teams in 1993. Since then, the Longhorns have won six national championships and 20 league titles. In 2007 she became the sixth Longhorn to enter the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame. She has been honored with five National Coach of the Year awards, nine District Coach of the Year awards and 16 Conference Coach of the Year awards. 

Printed on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012 as: Texas considers coach's pay raise

The University of Texas women’s track and field head coach Beverly Kearney has been placed on paid administrative leave, according to a University statement released Monday. Since Kearney became head coach in 1993, the Longhorns have won six team national championships and 20 conference championships.

The track team met Monday evening but was not made aware of the specifics of Kearney’s standing within the program or why she was on paid leave, according to a source.

UT publicized its decision in a Department of Athletics email sent to media outlets. Although it did not reveal specifics, the University cited a need to review issues pertaining to the program as the reasoning behind the decision.

The official University statement reads as follows:

“The University of Texas is reviewing issues pertaining to its women’s track and field program. Until this process is completed, head coach Beverly Kearney will be on paid administrative leave.”

Kearney, 54, is entering her 21st season as the women’s track and field coach and has led Texas to three outdoor national titles (1998, 1999, 2005) and three indoor championships (1998, 1999, 2006) during her tenure. In 2007 Kearney was enshrined into the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Kearney, the first African-American coach at Texas, has also been named National Coach of the Year three times and in her 20 years at Texas, 70 Longhorns have earned All-America status.

— Additional reporting by Trey Scott

Printed on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 as: Staff change leaves no tracks 

Texas women's track and field coach Beverly Kearney has been placed on administratrive leave while the school looks into issues into the program, the university announced Wednesday.

"The University of Texas is reviewing issues pertaining to its women's track and field program," the UT women's athletic department said in a statement. "Until this process is completed, head coach Beverly Kearney will be on paid administrative leave."

Kearney took over as head coach in 1993 and has since led the Longhorns to six NCAA team titles, three indoor and three outdoor, and 44 individual and relay national championships. Her student-athletes have combined to win 18 Olypmic medals, most recently the two gold medals captured by Sanya Richards-Ross in the London Games this summer.

No further details were offered regarding the women's track and field program or Kearney.

Track & Field Review

TexasÂ’ Isaac Murphy looks to clear a hurdle during 110-meter hurdles in the decathlon at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

The Longhorns’ spring track and field season came to an end this weekend at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. The men’s team started strongly, but finished tied for ninth place with 22 points on the weekend while the women’s team finished in 11th place with 20 points.

Junior Marquise Goodwin, also one of the Longhorns’ football stars, set the pace for men’s team, winning his second national championship in the long jump on the first day of competition. Goodwin dominated the long jump leader board, posting the top four jumps of the day and ending with a lengthy 8.23m (27-0) jump on his final attempt.

“It feels great,” Goodwin said. “It was a great day to compete out here. There were a lot of great competitors out here jumping that beat me before, but I just felt it today and went out there and got it done.”

On the women’s side, sophomore Shanay Briscoe also came close to a national championship after leaping a career-best 1.90m (6-2.75) in the high jump. The mark was enough to capture second place, an improvement on her third-place finish in 2011.

“Shanay is really evolving into an amazing competitor,” women’s head coach Beverly Kearney said. “She is still learning how good she is. She has learned to be a fighter and a competitor this year, which will help her next year.”

The youth on Texas’ roster contributed to the strong start by the men with All-American performances by underclassmen. Sophomore Ryan Dohner finished seventh in the 10,000m run, while freshman Ryan Crouser finished fourth in the discus throw.

A pair of sophomores, Danielle Dowie and Christy Udoh, also performed well for the women’s team, taking matching sixth place finishes in the 400m hurdles and 200m dash, respectively. Dowie, along with Angele Cooper, Briana Nelson and Kendra Chambers, also earned a fifth place finish in the 4x400m relay despite some handoff confusion during the event.

Additional All-American finishes included junior Isaac Murphy in the decathlon and senior Jacob Thormaehlen in the shot put, who both took seventh place in their events. Junior Keiron Stewart also placed eighth in the 110m hurdles.

“It’s good to be an All-American again,” Thormaehlen said. “As Texas, we’re a Division I institution and we’re top of the line athletics, so it’s expected of us. We did what we expected. It’s a good thing to be an All-American, but it sucks not to win.”

Women's Track

The No. 8 Longhorns showed they are a team on the rise this weekend.

Pitted against some of the top, elite, long distance runners in the country, three 5000-meter Longhorn runners held their own at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif.

Sophomore Sara Sutherland finished with the seventh fastest collegiate time in the Olympic Development Elite division.
Trailing Sutherland by two spots, freshman Marielle Hall took 19th overall with a time of 16:22.83.

While the 5-kilometer runners finished up at the Mt. SAC Relays Friday night, 23 track and field competitors prepared for Saturday’s Longhorn Invitational — the second consecutive home meet for UT this outdoor season.

Heading into the meet, head coach Beverly Kearney stressed that, to continue moving forward with improved finishes, the team’s mentality would require a shift in focus.

“We just need to stop thinking so much,” Kearney said. “Sometimes, your desire to win can be overridden by trying to figure out how to win — as opposed to just competing.”

Junior Natasha Masterson set the bar high for the Longhorns for the second week in a row and won gold with a 4.02-meter measurement in the pole vault.

Two Texas competitors that also finished first were Okwukwe Okolie in the discus and Amanda Van Dyke in the shot put.

Notable UT performances at the Invitational, however, were not limited to the field events.

Kendra Chambers won the 800-meter dash.

“I was nervous because I am so inexperienced at the 800-meter,” Chambers said. “I feel good because now I feel like I have a place to start and work from there.”

Danielle Dowie won the 400-meter hurdles on Saturday, clocking in at 56.90. In the 100-meter hurdles, freshman Morgan Snow also took home gold.

Angele Cooper also won the 200-meter dash.

“What really stuck out to me was the big improvement for Angele Cooper ... [who has] struggled all year with injuries that they thought she would not be able to come back from this year,” Kearney said. “That really says something going into the rest of the season.”

Rebeca Rodriguez | Daily Texan file photo Senior hurdler Angele Cooper focuses on her footwork during the 85th annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.

Photo Credit: Rebeca Rodriguez | Daily Texan Staff

Nine of UT’s most developed middle and long distance runners are set on striking gold at the renowned 54th Annual Mt. SAC Relays.

In 1959, Hilmer Lodge founded the Relays with the intent of creating opportunities. In particular, Lodge wanted a meet that offered female athletes equal opportunities as their male counterparts. Over the years, the event has evolved into a unique opportunity to showcase an aspect of track that is too often overlooked.

“[The Mt. SAC Relays] is going to be more of a distance-based meet. It’s rare that you find some of your top middle-distance and distance runners in one place,” head coach Beverly Kearney said. “And the weather in California is really conducive to the distance events.”

With a forecasted temperature of about 80 degrees and clear, sunny skies, the Mt. SAC Relays will commence at 2 p.m. with the university/open women’s 1500-meter. Longhorns Julie Amthor, Connor Ward and Anne Jones are among the 160 competitors scheduled to compete in the first event of the three-day meet.

At last weekend’s Texas Invitational, Amthor had a season-best performance that earned her the top collegiate finish in the 1500-meter. Slicing over eight seconds off her time from Texas Relays, she is gaining momentum as a team leader as well as a major threat to the competition.

Although she ran in the 1500-meter last weekend, Brittany Marches will take on the daunting open 3000-meter steeplechase. The sole athlete representing UT in the event, the redshirt freshman will aim for her second steeplechase win this season.

At 9:15 p.m., senior Laleh Mojtabaeezamani will wrap up the first day of competition with the last women’s event of the night, the Olympic development elite division of the 10,000-meter run. Last weekend, Mojtabaeezamani had a notably improved performance, the fastest collegiate finish in the 3000-meter. However, tonight will be the first time for her to compete in the 10-kilometer this season.

On day two of the Mt. SAC Relays, four more Texas middle and long distance runners will participate in three races (the 800-meter as well as in two divisions of the 5000-meter) in the afternoon and into the late evening.

The Olympic development elite division of the 5000-meter will feature a pair of sophomores who are currently among Texas’ top athletes, Marielle Hall and Sara Sutherland. Hall found success in the event early with a first-place finish at the Texas Relays.

Although Sutherland has yet to compete in the 5-kilometer this outdoor season, she held the fastest Longhorn time in the race last year as a freshman.

The Mt. SAC Relays is tailored to highlight the talents of these Texas runners and is a special occasion for them to take pride in their events. But they must remain focused, as Kearney holds high standards with the postseason quickly closing in.

“[The athletes] going out to California, we’re expecting great performances that will set them up not only for Conference, but for Nationals as well.”

Printed on Thursday, April 19, 2012 as: Mt. SAC Relays upnext for UT

Longhorns coach Beverly Kearney, left, speaks with her team at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays on Saturday.

Photo Credit: Ryan Edwards | Daily Texan Staff

Beverly Kearney is a chameleon of sorts.

During track season, you’ll likely spot “Coach Bev” on a Monday afternoon in a casual jumpsuit, whizzing around Mike A. Myers Stadium with a hurried determination, perhaps making an intermittent pit stop to critique a relay team’s baton handoff or to tell a long-distance runner to adjust her pace.

At the 85th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays last Wednesday through Saturday, the 20-year reigning women’s track and field head coach led her current athletes to first-places in four events. She also watched her former-turned-Olympian runners return home to claim victories in Invitational races.

But for Kearney, her responsibility as a coach has always reached beyond developing athletes and has extended into the depths of society where potential has often been overlooked.

Several years ago, while searching for a way to incite an “excitement to excel” in local youth, Kearney saw an opportunity in the Texas Relays tradition. Her efforts resulted in a forum, originally focused on encouraging student-athletes, that was coined the Minority Mentorship Symposium.

“It is an amazing affair [and has] grown bigger into anything than I could have ever imagined,” Kearney said with a smile a week ago, commenting on her anticipation of the upcoming event.

Last Friday evening, Kearney’s sixth annual Symposium was hosted in the grand ballroom at the AT&T Executive Education Center. This year’s event, themed “Intimate Conversations with Greatness: Creating a Legacy of Success,” attracted big-name, influential figures from the sports, entertainment, political and business worlds.

Among the “Divine Divas” and “Gents of Distinction” whose inspirational accomplishments were featured at the Symposium included actress Michelle Williams, Madame Secretary Hope Andrade, rapper Bun B and former Texas football player Foswhitt “Fozzy” Whittaker.

“Our theme is creating a legacy of success and the pursuit of excellence. And all of [these] individuals exemplify what excellence is,” Kearney said. “And personally, I feel like that’s what Texas is. Texas has a tradition of excellence, and that’s what we want to present.”

In addition to what has become a star-studded function, a number of smaller events, which have taken root in the spirit of the Symposium since its birth in 2006, were held throughout Austin last Friday.

With themes ranging from promoting education to raising awareness of racism in the public school system, occasions inspired by Kearney’s event included the Pursuit of Excellence Youth Rally in UT’s Gregory Gym, the Jody Conradt Leadership Conference held at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders and the “Moving Past Racial Stigmas to Help Students Succeed” panel conducted at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center.

Kearney showed her versatility in January when she swapped out her electric scooter and track-inspired apparel for a cane that was barely noticeable next to an elegant, black and beaded floor-length gown that she wore to the fifth annual BET Honors in Washington, D.C. As the recipient of the education award, she was distinguished at the event alongside a multitude of innovative leaders including Dr. Maya Angelou, Stevie Wonder and Spike Lee.

In her acceptance speech, she shed light on her inspiration to teach and exemplified her motivations as a mentor.

“People ask me, ‘How is it that you have succeeded in spite of your obstacles?’ And you know what I tell ‘em? I don’t have a choice. I don’t have a choice, because my hero is my history and my history is a legacy of people who have triumphed over tragedy, who have succeeded in spite of the oppression. How can I fail? Because they taught me failure is not an option.”

It is this burning enthusiasm, kept lit by the constant reminder of her race’s historic struggle for equality, that inspires Kearney to ignite a passion for success and to help students realize their potential through the annual Minority Mentorship Symposium. 

Printed on Monday, April 2, 2012 as: Minority symposium highlights Kearney's leadership