Guelph fires longtime track coach Scott-Thomas for unprofessional conduct

TORONTO — Longtime Canadian track coach Dave Scott-Thomas has been fired from the University of Guelph for unprofessional conduct.

Scott-Thomas has been on a leave of absence since Oct. 2, while the university investigated information from current and former athletes on their “experiences of the team.”

“During the course of reviewing this information and in the last 24 hours, the university became privy to new information regarding past unprofessional conduct,” the university said in a statement Tuesday.

“The well-being of our student athletes is a priority the university does not tolerate conduct from its coaches that is inconsistent with the core values and beliefs of the University of Guelph and our university’s coaches code of conduct.”

Scott-Thomas is one of the most successful Canadian university coaches in history, leading the Guelph Gryphons to 37 national titles in cross-country and track and field, and earning U Sports coach of the year in the two disciplines 35 times.

He’s also the head coach of the Speed River Track and Field Club, of which numerous Olympians have been members.

Scott-Thomas was a coach on 16 Canadian national teams, including the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2015 and ‘17 world track and field championships.

Athletics Canada said in a statement that it had not received any complaints about Scott-Thomas since its independent Commissioners’ Office was put in place in 2015. But Canada’s governing body for track and field has terminated, as of Tuesday, its recognition of the University of Guelph and the Speed River club as one of its high performance centres.

“Athletics Canada acknowledges and fully accepts the University of Guelph’s decision,” Athletics Canada said in a statement. “Athletics Canada is completing a thorough review of records to identify if complaints were received prior to 2015.

“Athletics Canada views ethical conduct as a cornerstone in the fair administration of the sport of athletics. Everyone participating in athletics as an athlete, coach, integrated support team member, administrator, volunteer or staff member is entitled to participate in an environment that is free of harassment or discrimination.”