In mid-May, a number of media outlets reported that Tim Fader, head wrestling coach at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, had been suspended. Three months later, reasons for Fader’s suspension – and ultimate dismissal – are now being reported, thanks to the amateur wrestling website d3wrestle.com and the “Rockford Register Star” newspaper.
On Thursday, d3wrestle.com provided a link to the northern Illinois newspaper story, published on Tuesday, August 5, updating Fader’s status. (Fader was a 1986 Illinois high school state wrestling championship placer from Rochelle, a community just south of Rockford.)
Fader, named d3wrestle.com’s Coach of the Year at the end of the 2013-14 season (his third such honor), was told on May 13 that he was being suspended from his teaching and coaching positions, according to the “Register Star”, and that an internal investigation into the recruiting practices of the wrestling program was underway. Less than a month later he was asked to resign.
Events were set into motion on April 18, when Fader received a phone call from the mother of a Whitewater student, alleging that a wrestling recruit had sexually assaulted her daughter. Fader found the recruit, and took him to Whitewater, Wis. police, with the idea that the incident would be handled by the proper authorities. Two days later, the mother called back to say she was wrong about the incident, and should not have called. Fader believed the matter was closed.
Two weeks later, the university told the ten-year coach it had not been notified of the alleged incident, and that his job was at risk.
“It’s just always been that way: Whenever anybody did anything wrong on campus, the university was always notified by the police,” Fader told “Register Star” reporter Jay Taft. “There was certainly no intent to cover anything up or hide anything. I acted immediately and with the best interest of the alleged victim in mind, and I still think I did the right thing.”
When contacted by the “Register Star”, Whitewater athletic director Amy Edmonds said the case is still open, adding, “We certainly can’t say anything about it, other than it’s been tough. We’ve officially ended Coach Fader’s tenure here. That’s all I can tell you. We’re hoping to continue to see the program grow in the future.”
Tom Trieloff, who wrestled for Fader at Whitewater from 2005-09 and is now president of the school’s alumni club, said he believes a Department of Education investigation of 55 schools – including Whitewater -- with suspected Title IX violations such as unreported sexual assault cases, was key to Fader’s dismissal.
“Coach Fader is a great coach and an even better person, and the thing he stressed more than anything in the world was that this was a family, not just a team or a school,” Trieloff told the “Register Star”. “They threw all that out the window. This program and this school now have a black eye, and I don’t think it has anything to do with Coach Fader’s actions. It’s all about how this has been handled.
“It wasn’t the recruiting violations that they let (Fader) go for, it was the pressure they felt from the federal investigation. They made a bad decision; this could have been a learning process, a learning tool. Instead it’s a black eye.”
Meanwhile, Fader, who since coming to UW-Whitewater in 2004 had coached 21 NCAA All-Americans and four NCAA finalists, launched his job search late last month.
“Now, I still believe I did the right thing," Fader said to the “Register Star”. "But I’m not sure what my future holds anymore.”
In late August, UW-Whitewater announced that Ned Shuck, who wrestled at the University of Iowa, then served as an assistant at Augsburg before taking the helm at Heidelberg University, was hired as head wrestling coach.
Meanwhile, the head coaching position Fader held for a decade at UW-Whitewater remains unfilled.