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Ex-Florida basketball coach Cam Newbauer accused of creating an abusive environment


Months after former University of Florida women’s basketball head coach Cam Newbuaer resigned, five players have told The Independent Florida Alligator that Newbauer created an abusive environment within the program.

The players told the newspaper that Newbauer would throw balls and scream at players during practice. They also said that injuries were overlooked or disregarded, and some players even had their scholarships removed due to performance.

“For him, I felt very, ‘You’re only useful to me on the court,’ ” former player Sydney Morang told The Independent Florida Alligator. “‘I don’t really care about anything about you or how I treat you other than that.’”

Cydnee Kinslow is another player who came forward with her story. A graduate transfer on the 2020-21 team, she said Newbauer made players feel worthless.

“He would make them cry,” Kinslow 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.”

According to the report, Newbauer’s behavior even extended to when boosters were present at practice. Later, those same boosters told the players not to listen to him, with one saying his behavior “was out of line.”

Newbauer reportedly treated his assistants similarly, with some even crying because of the way he spoke to them.

“I don’t know if they were afraid of losing their job,” said Sydney Searcy, who played just one season under Newbauer before transferring. “But it wasn’t too much that they would say either, just because everybody was pretty much in the same boat.”

When Morang’s parents tried to take action and took their concerns to Florida president Kent Fuchs and athletic director Scott Stricklin in 2018, they received an email back from Stricklin.

“Thank you for taking the time to write to me,” Stricklin wrote. “It is truly important to me and everyone on our staff that Gator student-athletes have a valuable experience, and we are always open to learning how we can improve.… Lynda Tealer met with Sydney and two other members of the women’s basketball team. We will consider all the information we have received and work to make enhancements that improves the experience for our students.”

It took three more years for Newbauer to leave.

During his time in Gainesville, Newbuaer was 46-71 — the worst winning percentage for any head coach in Gators history during their first four seasons. At the time of his resignation, Newbauer had just signed a contract extension that would have kept him at the helm of the program until 2025.

In a statement issued to USA TODAY Sports on Monday, Stricklin addressed the article.

“It is our responsibility to provide a championship experience with integrity, along with the necessary support, for Gators student-athletes and staff,” Stricklin said.

“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 (university) 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.”

Kelly Rae Finley — who was an assistant under Newbauer — is set to serve as the team’s interim coach until a permanent replacement is hired.