Former University of Florida women's basketball players have accused former UF coach Cam Newbauer of creating a toxic environment, according to the daily student newspaper The Independent Florida Alligator in a report picked up by major papers from Washington D.C. to Seattle.
As reported by the Aligator's Zachary Huber, Newbauer, who served as head coach from 2017 to 2021, is accused of making racist remarks, throwing basketballs at players during practices and verbally abusing team members, assistant coaches and trainers. Newbauer resigned July 16, citing personal reasons.
In June, Newbauer had signed a contract extension through 2025, despite amassing the worst four-year winning percentage (.393) of any women's basketball coach in Gators' history.
As reported by Huber, as the team struggled to win games, the environment grew toxic. Then-sophomore Syndey Morang noticed that Newbauer's tone changed, and how he screamed in players’ faces and yelled at assistant coaches from across the court. Morang’s brother, Jordan, who worked as a practice player during her two years at Florida, quit his job shortly after Newbauer’s arrival, Huber reported. He couldn’t handle watching Newbauer scream at the athletes and coaching staff.
According to the report, Newbauer looked for reasons to kick players out of practice, only to welcome them back the next day and rehash the issue all over again as a means of demanding his players' respect.
“He would make them cry,” Cydnee Kinslow, a graduate transfer on the 2020-21 team, said. “Push until they cried, whatever it was, like, he tried. There’s a breaking point for people and pushing them through a wall to make them stronger. And then there’s what Cameron Newbauer did.”
Haley Lorenzen, captain of the 2017-2018 squad, told Huber, “If you came into our locker room, sometimes, you could feel the tension, and you could just feel people were afraid. People just weren’t themselves.”
Newbauer is said to have criticized players' clothes, demanded that players cover tattoos and made comments about their hair.
In a startlingly abusive episode, he forced a player to do a wall sit with her hands raised as he hurled basketballs at her head.
Assistant coaches recommended that players seek therapy to cope with Newbauer, according to the report, but they never spoke up against Newbauer out of fear of retaliation. Newbauer also disparaged strength and conditioning coaches and athletic trainers, Huber reported.
Huber reported trying several times to reach Newbauer without success.
In response to these revelations, Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin released the following statement Monday afternoon, as reported by ABC affiliate WCJB in Gainesville:
It is our responsibility to provide a championship experience with integrity, along with the necessary support, for Gators student-athletes and staff.
The culture of the women’s program under Head Coach Cam Newbauer described in The Independent Florida Alligator article is in no way consistent with the values of the University of Florida.
At times during Coach Newbauer’s tenure there were concerns brought to our attention. Each time, additional information was sought, and these concerns were addressed directly with Cam as we required corrective actions and outlined clear expectations of behavior moving forward. Additionally, the UAA provided enhanced administrative oversight and presence within the program and sought anonymous feedback directly from student-athletes and staff.
Ultimately, we did not see the required improvements, and following discussions with Coach Newbauer he made the decision to resign.