Tuite Lands Deputy AD Job in Wake of SJSU Sex Scandal

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Southern Utah University named Marie Tuite its deputy athletic director Monday, less than two years after Tuite resigned as athletic director at San Jose State University amid the Scott Shaw sex abuse scandal.

“SUU Athletics is excited to hire Marie Tuite … and bring her decades of experience to serve and support our students, coaches, university, and community,” Doug Knuth, the director of Southern Utah University’s athletics department, said in an email Monday morning, as reported by The Mercury News of San Jose. “SUU is aware of the situation at San Jose State and based on a thorough review, reference checks and standard hiring protocols, the university is confident in welcoming Marie to Thunderbird Athletics.”

Southern Utah University, a public school with about 14,000 students in Cedar City, Utah, that has played San Jose State in football and basketball in recent years. Tuite was hired as SJSU deputy athletic director in 2010, shortly after Shaw was cleared by an intitial investigation. She was promoted to athletic director in May 2017, one of only 12 women in the country to hold the title, and then reassigned amid the Shaw scandal in May 2021. She finally resigned from the university in August of that same year.

Before leaving San Jose State, Tuite was named in three wrongful termination or retaliation lawsuits that the university ultimately settled for hundreds of thousands of dollars. In one of those cases, Tuite was accused of bullying Sage Hopkins, a swim coach who — for nearly a decade — continued to push forward accusations from more than a dozen female athletes that they had been inappropriately touched by the university’s head trainer, Scott Shaw, during sports massages, Elissa Miolene and Julie Prodis Sulek of The Mercury News reported. The university spent nearly $5 million to settle those claims after lawsuits and an investigation by the U.S Department of Justice.

Tuite also presided over the athletics department when head gymnastics coach Wayne Wright was forced to retire in 2018 after two dozen athletes accused him of bullying. The investigation of Wright was launched after a gymnast who had transferred from San Jose State — to Southern Utah — went public with complaints about Wright's treatment.

Amy LeClair, a gymnast who won a settlement over Shaw’s sexual abuse and also said she was a victim of Wright’s intimidation, "expressed outrage that Tuite was hired by Southern Utah and incredulity that the NCAA would allow it," Miolene and Prodis Sulek reported.

“It feels insulting to know that everything that courageous people, such as Sage Hopkins have done to bring her gross negligence and intentional risking of athletes’ safety to light is being thrown back under the rug again,” LeClair said in a text message Monday.

For 10 years after arriving at SJSU, Tuite rebuffed Hopkins’ repeated attempts to keep Shaw away from his team, Hopkins said, as reported by The Mercury News. An informal, verbal agreement that Shaw not treat female athletes was ignored, which the U.S. Department of Justice would say in a 2021 investigation allowed Shaw “unfettered access” to abuse more athletes, Miolene and Prodis Sulek reported.

Related: Review: SJSU Botched Probe of Athletic Trainer's Alleged Misconduct

In 2019, Hopkins took his concerns — along with a 300-page dossier of emails from Tuite and others — to the NCAA, which then triggered then-SJSU president Mary Papazian to open a new investigation into Shaw. That investigation found that Shaw had abused the athletes. In the aftermath, more female athletes came forward, saying that in the interim decade they, too, became victims of Shaw. Both Tuite and Papazian resigned from San Jose State in the wake of the scandal.

Some San Jose State professors spoke in support of Tuite’s new appointment. In a news release sent out by Southern Utah University, former professors and students said she “understands the challenges facing coaches and student-athletes,” has “a well-defined moral compass” and is “an outstanding person.”

“She’s a student-centered administrator who had an incredibly positive impact on SJSU,” Don Kassing, who served as SJSU president from 2004 to 2008, said in the news release, as reported by The Mercury News. “SUU got a good one.”

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