UC Berkeley Coach Resigns Following Harassment Scandal

The coach’s resignation represents a shift from an earlier announcement that he would appeal his firing.

An assistant basketball coach at the University of California Berkeley resigned April 7 after briefly attempting to appeal school officials’ decision to fire him.

Former coach Yann Hufnagel had accused the school of making him the scapegoat after several sexual misconduct allegations led some to criticize the school’s sexual misconduct policies.

An internal investigation determined Hufnagel tried to lure a reporter to his room for sex and sent suggestive text messages to the woman, according to the Mercury News.

Hufnagel was the third staff member at the university to be accused of sexual misconduct in recent months.

“The toxic environment at UC Berkeley has made it impossible for Mr. Hufnagel to rejoin the basketball team he loves, even if he is vindicated in full, as the facts would show,” a statement released by Hufnagel’s lawyer said. The lawyer had previously said Hufnagel was innocent and urged administrators to “correct their error.”

The decision to fire Hufnagel came after a prominent astronomer resigned from his professorial role with the Berkeley, California school in October following allegations he sexually assaulted students and coworkers. In the past year, a diving coach at the school was also found to have extensively sexually harassed a colleague by an internal investigation.

A public records request showed disparate punishments for Hufnagel and diving coach Todd Mulzet, both of whom were found guilty of sexual harassment by university investigations.

Investigators determined Mulzet had made hundreds of sexual comments to a university staff member, offered him money for oral sex and inappropriately touched him in the past year.

As a result of those findings, Mulzet was required to take a sexual harassment class and docked $455 in pay.

“The difference [in disciplinary decisions] is stark beyond belief,” Hufnagel’s attorney said April 6.

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About the Author


Zach Winn is a journalist living in the Boston area. He was previously a reporter for Wicked Local and graduated from Keene State College in 2014, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism and minoring in political science.

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