Brian Reynolds, head swimming and diving coach for Drury University in Springfield, Mo., has announced his intention to step down as coach in order to devote his time to an anti-hazing task force he plans to create with the help of dean of students Tijuana Julian and athletic director Mark Fisher.
Reynolds told KTTS, “Because of my 33 years of experience in NCAA athletics, my love of athletics, and thousands of SA’s I’ve worked with, I feel a deep responsibility to help Drury University address this issue and create a national model in combating this kind of behavior.”
The decision came after a hazing report, made earlier in January, by former swimmer Evan Petrich. Petrich claims that severe hazing in his freshman year resulted in the end of his swimming career, as well as the need for both cardiovascular and psychological evaluation.
In the fall of 2015, according to Petrich, freshman team members were forced to disrobe, don diapers, undergo a painful “sternum rub” and drink large amounts of alcohol and a live goldfish. When Petrich finally reported the incident to Dean Julian, she launched a university investigation.
Julian began a series of interviews, which resulted in penalty for 11 students. Penalties included fines, community service and educational programming, as well as several missed swim meets, but steps are now being taken to prevent similar activities in the future.
In a statement, Reynolds said, “What we have been challenged to do is develop a comprehensive program for ensuring that the behavior is completely eliminated from the Drury University swim program, athletics in general and campus wide.”
The Drury task force will be comprised of university staff, faculty, students and alumni united in the goal of creating new and enforceable campus-wide anti-hazing policies.