Kevin Hadsell had a credo for his athletes at the University of Toledo to live by: One of the easiest things to do is follow rules.
Hadsell, who lifted the track and field and cross country programs from the pits of despair over 15 seasons, is admittedly a hypocrite. He resigned Thursday amid his admission to violating a university policy.
Hadsell, who would not reveal the nature of his transgression, lamented his own unprofessionalism as cause for him losing control of a program he turned into one of the most respected in the nation. Hadsell, who is 42 "but I feel 82 today," resigned the title of director of the women’s track and field and men’s and women’s cross country programs.
"Obviously I’m incredibly sad and remorseful," said Hadsell, a five-time Mid-American Conference women’s cross country coach of the year. "I’ve been here 15 years, and I think everybody knows me as not being your typical coach. The work boots. The jeans. Maybe the bad language. I just think what should have evolved over those 15 years is my professionalism. That’s really what it comes down to. [UT president Dr. Lloyd Jacobs] demands we have a certain amount of professionalism, and that’s basically my problem. I need to grow from it. I hope this isn’t the last that people hear from me."
Athletic director Mike O’Brien said in a statement that no NCAA rules violations were involved in Hadsell’s resignation. He added that assistant coach Jiana Jin, who has been with the program for 17 years, has been named interim head coach for the track and cross country programs and that interim assistant coach Ari Fisher will remain in her position.
Hadsell said he did not ask for severance pay.
“We have accepted the resignation of coach Hadsell,” O’Brien said. “We thank him for his many contributions to the success of our cross country and track programs and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Hadsell enjoyed tremendous success at his first head coaching job, particularly in women’s cross country. The Rockets won five Mid-American Conference titles and advanced to the NCAA meet the last three seasons. When Hadsell took over the program, Toledo had finished last or second to last every year of its 18-year existence.
"I built this program from scratch, and I should have a higher level of professionalism after 15 years," Hadsell said.
Hadsell added he will unwind for a couple of weeks before exploring future plans. Continuing coaching is a possibility.
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