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University of Guelph alleges fired track coach Dave Scott-Thomas ‘lied repeatedly’ 

Coach Dave Scott-Thomas keeps an eye on the course as members of Guelph's Speed River track and field club workout Sep. 21, 2011. The club is arguably the best running club in the country, and is home to several elites who are students at the university and also three of Canadians top marathoners. The Canadian Press

The University of Guelph says their former track and field head coach, Dave Scott-Thomas, lied repeatedly during a 2006 investigation into complaints made by a family member of a student-athlete.

That revelation came during a 2019 investigation following another complaint by an athlete under Scott-Thomas, according to a post on the university’s website Thursday.

READ MORE: University of Guelph fires track and field coach Dave Scott-Thomas over ‘unprofessional conduct’

“We are saddened to learn that some student-athletes coached by Scott-Thomas had unacceptable experiences and we offer an apology to those who endured suffering and hardship,” the university states.

Scott-Thomas, once known as one of the most successful and decorated running coaches in Canada, was terminated by the university on Dec. 16, 2019. Repeated attempts by Global News to reach Scott-Thomas for comment have gone unanswered.

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Global News has not been able to verify any of the university’s allegations.

The university said the complaint received in 2006 was investigated by an independent external investigator, and while it did not substantiate all of the allegations, it determined some misconduct had taken place and Scott-Thomas was suspended for four weeks.

In the fall of 2019, the university said they received a complaint from another student-athlete and once again, an independent external investigator looked into the matter while Scott-Thomas was placed on paid leave.

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“While the 2019 investigation was ongoing, the university received new information related to the earlier investigation that made it clear that Scott-Thomas lied repeatedly in 2006 about several significant matters,” the university states. “The receipt of that new information resulted in the termination of Scott-Thomas from his U of G position.”

The university added that had it been aware in 2006 of the information, it would have terminated Scott-Thomas at that time.

The results of the 2019 investigation were received this week and the university said it reinforced their decision to fire Scott-Thomas.

“That report concluded that the behaviour of Scott-Thomas toward the relevant athlete violated the trust inherent in the coaching and mentoring relationship and breached the university’s coaches code of conduct.”

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The university declined an opportunity for an interview.

Athletics Canada investigating ‘historical’ information

Athletics Canada says it has uncovered “historical information” as part of their own investigation into Scott-Thomas’ conduct.

In a post on their website, it said information had been uncovered that spanned from 2006 to 2013, but did not go into details.

That information has been forwarded to their independent commissioner’s office, which is heading up the probe.

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The governing body for athletics in Canada is also encouraging anyone who has relevant information into their investigation to contact them.

The university said they are aware of Athletics Canada’s investigation and will provide any relevant information or assistance.

Speed River Track and Field Club Ceases Operation

The Speed River Track and Field Club, where Scott-Thomas was a head coach and founder, announced on Tuesday that it was ceasing operations.

Scott-Thomas had been on an “extended personal health leave” from all coaching and administrative duties, the club said in December.

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“As you are aware, the last few weeks have presented challenges for continued club management,” read a post on their website.

They said they would not be receiving any member registrations and the club has ceased operations related to athlete training and development, as well as event hosting.

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Refunds will be given to those who have already completed their 2020 registrations and the club’s winter program for kids will be cancelled.

The club said training will continue at the university for those athletes in the intermediate, junior and senior groups.

“Moving forward, there are initiatives underway to create a new training platform in which our top priority is to ensure continued programming for track and field athletes in our community in a fun, safe and caring environment,” the club stated.

The club said they had not received any complaints from their athletes.

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