Teri McKeever Attorney Speaks Out, Alleges Gender Bias After Allegations of Abuse

Teri McKeever; Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

An attorney for Cal women’s swimming coach Teri McKeever spoke out against the charges against the coach, alleging she is a victim of gender bias.

Thomas Newkirk spoke to the OC Register about McKeever and the case.

McKeever is accused of emotional, verbal and even physical abuse by 36 members of Cal’s swim team over her 29 years, including several who have been pushed to suicidal thoughts or even made plans to commit suicide, according to the OC Register.

The university placed McKeever on paid administrative leave on May 25, beginning an investigation to the alleged abuse.

Newkirk claims McKeever is a victim of a double standard among male and female coaches.

“(The) Administration has been aware of Teri’s approach for years and recently awarded her a new contract,” Newkirk wrote in a recent document sent to Cal officials “This award was based on hundreds and thousands of interactions with students, parents, and peers over many years. Coach McKeever does not coach in secret. There are several hundred witnesses to her methods and her behavior that will verify what she said, how she said it, and whether any of that was over the line of coaching standards. The administration is also aware and approves of Teri mentoring other coaches regarding their approach to leadership. Why would it permit that if there was the slightest concern about some pattern of behavior?

“It happens all the time where the female coach is described as saying something negative but she never said the words,” Newkirk said. “But because she’s a female she’s supposed to respond in a nurturing way. She’s supposed to be more attentive to the athletes, more caring of the feelings of the athletes. And when Teri McKeever and other females do not respond in that expected way the athletes assume that she’s being critical of them in a very specific way. ‘She called me stupid.’ ‘She said I was dumb’. ‘She told me I was an idiot.’ The coach never actually says that stuff. The athlete is superimposing their feelings from what the coach actually said.”

Swimmers aren’t convinced and spoke out against Newkirk’s statement.

“This has nothing to do with gender bias,”  former Cal swimmer Danielle Carter, who nearly committed suicide because of what she described as months of bullying by McKeever, told the OC Register. “She uses and weaponizes what she knows about you and your illnesses against you.”

Teri McKeever was the first female head coach of an American swimming Olympic team, to the London Games in 2012, and served on the coaching staff as recently as the 2019 World Championships. McKeever has won four NCAA titles in Berkeley and mentored 26 Olympians over her 29 seasons with the school.


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Laurie Loh
1 month ago

It is not Teri’s job to nurture your feelings or hold your hand…these are not children…these are adults that are division one athletes receiving a top-notch education from Berkeley worth over a quarter million dollars each and a chance to be taught by the best. There are no participation trophies and orange slices being handed out here. Her job is to make these women into the best swimmers they can each individually be and to win championships…period. She is not their Mom, not their counselor, not their therapist. She has done that, and done that better than any other female coach in history. The new generation wants mommy to hold their hand and tell them how wonderful they are…they are a weaker generation, in my opinion, than any other in history. Either take full advantage of what Teri and her expertise has to offer and put in the work or pursue something for the softer souls that can’t handle it. Imagine if we persecuted and prosecuted every football or basketball coach that yelled and cursed at their players for bullying? Ever been on a sideline or a practice? What’s next…boot camp for the military will have to involve drill sergeants asking nicely to run up the hill using proper pronouns? Seriously…if you are mentally and/or emotionally weak, swim for the local JC not Cal. Time we stopped holding all these adults’ hands before the world is full of nothing but followers that claim bullying and abuse the second anyone raised their voice or expects greatness from them. Rise to the challenge or let someone who can handle the heat take your coveted spot on the team.

Law & Order
1 month ago
Reply to  Laurie Loh

Cool story!

I guess you didnt have a problem with donor money going towards “retreats” up in Lake Tahoe where Teri would “discover” the deepest, darkest, secrets of her Swimmers to be later used to abuse and exploit these young women. And you call them adults? Good luck with that. Something tells me you NEVER went to CAL. I did, and I can tell you that it was extremely stressful as a student, let alone as a student / athlete. Your post tells me that you have no idea. You really dont. Think Kirk Everist yells and screams and berates his Cal Water Polo players? Think again.

It appears that you havent read the latest PR piece that came from Teri’s attorney/spokesperson…. who does NOT DENY what happened. He simply suggests that his client has been the “victim” of gender bias and that the University validated McKeever’s behavior given that they renewed her contract.

1 month ago
Reply to  Laurie Loh

Blame the victims by making ridiculous generalizations that don’t address the charges. I’m a 60 year old woman who put up with an abusive swim coach at a Div 1 university. I guess that blows up your argument. The only reason Teri hasn’t been fired yet is because she’s a woman…that’s the gender bias in this case. I applaud these young women for speaking up. Teri needs to go.

1 month ago
Reply to  Suzanne

I absolutely agree with you. The same goes for the administration, in case they were aware of her behavior.

1 month ago
Reply to  Laurie Loh

36 complaints….

I don’t know what to say about your strange diatribe. I don’t meet too many pro bullying advocates these days.

1 month ago
Reply to  Laurie Loh

I recommend you educate yourself. Read “Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness.”

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