The University of Utah gymnastics has mutually agreed to part ways with coach Tom Farden after multiple gymnasts accused Farden of abuse during their time at the school. The school's athletic department officially confirmed Farden's departure from the program on Monday and stated that the move was effective immediately.
"The past several months have been an extremely challenging time for our gymnastics program," Utah athletic director Mark Harlan said in a statement. "Changes like this are never easy, and only come after extensive analysis and discussion. In this case, the decision provides necessary clarity and stability for our student-athletes and prevents further distraction from their upcoming season."
Prior to his departure,earlier this month. At the time, Utah stated that the decision was "not related to student-athlete welfare."
Farden had been the head coach of the school's gymnastics program since 2020 and served on the coaching staff since 2011. Carly Dockendorf was named as the program's interim coach when Farden was placed on administrative leave and now will continue to serve as the head coach.
Kara Eaker, who won two world championship gold medals prior to joining Utah, came forward to report the alleged abuse.that she was "a victim of verbal and emotional abuse" while she attended the university, but didn't call out Farden by name. She also announced that she was retiring from the sport and withdrawing as a student at the school.
Just four days later, fellow gymnast Kim Tessen alleged abuse during her time with the program and named Farden in an Instagram post.
"None of those coaching tactics are normal or healthy," Tessen wrote. "It is not normal or healthy for your coach to make you feel physically unsafe. It is not normal or healthy to be broken down to the point where you don't believe your life is worth living. Success is possible without being degraded and humiliated."
The school hasn't addressed Eaker or Tessen's comments directly but did say that an independent investigator had cleared Farden of any abusive coaching tactics. In a report that was released in September, Husch Blackwell came to the conclusion that Farden "did not engage in any severe, pervasive or egregious acts of emotional or verbal abuse." However, during the investigation, Husch Blackwell investigators did say that Farden made at least one comment that was defrauding.