A man who tried to attack Larry Nassar in a Michigan courtroom publicly apologizes again and insists he’s “no hero.” (Feb. 2)
Rhonda Faehn, believed to be the first USA Gymnastics official told of predatory doctor Larry Nassar’s abuse, has been hired as a coaching consultant to the University of Michigan’s women’s gymnastics team.
Faehn’s hiring was announced by the university on Saturday. She began working for Michigan on Thursday.
Faehn was never implicated in the Nassar scandal, which included hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse under the guise of Nassar’s medical treatment. But she was ousted as the head of the USA Gymnastics women’s program in May, a week after Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman called for her to step down in an interview with the Indianapolis Star.
“After our exhaustive due diligence, we felt comfortable that coach Faehn reported all information available to her regarding Larry Nassar and that she cooperated fully, including voluntarily participating in all investigations and offering testimony before Congress,” Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said in a news release. “Neither an internal investigation by USA Gymnastics or a criminal investigation by the FBI have assigned culpability or resulted in any charges against her.”
Faehn was told about what USA Gymnastics has characterized as “athlete concerns” about Nassar on June 17, 2015, according to the IndyStar. A month later, Raisman said she told Faehn “in graphic detail” of Nassar’s abuse, but Faehn and other USA Gymnastics officials reportedly waited “another week to report Nassar to the FBI.”
“I reported my abuse to Rhonda Faehn and so did Maggie Nichols, and I don’t know what she did or didn’t do with that information,” Raisman told the IndyStar, “but I didn’t get contacted by the FBI for over a year, and in that time 50 to 100 gymnasts were molested.”
Faehn fills the coaching vacancy left open by the resignation of Scott Vetere, who was banned from the university in November after being caught having sex with one of his female gymnasts.
Faehn is one of the most accomplished gymnastics coaches in the sport. She served as senior vice president for the USA Gymnastics women’s program from 2015-18, and as a college coach she led Florida to three straight NCAA championships from 2013-15, four Southeastern Conference titles and was named national coach of the year in 2007.
“Rhonda Faehn joined our department in a consulting capacity shortly before our meet in Alabama (this weekend),” Manuel said. “I supported the recommendation of coach Bev Plocki only after a thorough review of Faehn’s coaching career and her involvement with USA Gymnastics.
“The well-being and safety of our student-athletes is always our highest priority. Our current student-athletes had a prominent voice throughout this search process to provide their perspective. This included a meeting between me and the captains before a final decision was made.”
Information from the Indianapolis Star was used in this report.