The former head coach of the North Carolina rowing team, who resigned in December amid a Title IX investigation into the program, has since worked in the athletic department as a "special assistant to the athletic director," according to personnel files.
Records show that Sarah Haney, who announced her resignation on Dec. 2, transferred into her new role the same day. In the announcement, Haney's new role was not mentioned. Her salary in the new role is $120,000, the same amount she has earned since being given a raise in July of 2018.
"When she decided to resign her head coaching duties, I asked if she would like to stay on to work on special projects, knowing that her experience as a long-time coach would enable her to help with research and share insights, particularly about how to make our rowing program better," athletic director Bubba Cunningham said via email.
The North Carolina women's rowing team finished last in the ACC 12 times under Haney's 18 years as head coach, and second to last six times. The program has never finished in the top half of the conference.
Haney declined to be interviewed for this story through a University spokesperson.
The Daily Tar Heel previously reported that the program was under Title IX investigation in regards to alleged misconduct on the part of Haney and assistant coach Anthony Brock, stemming from allegations made by rowers on the team. Brock has not responded to recent requests for an interview. He did not respond to similar requests back in December, but in March 2020, Brock generally denied the rowers’ allegations via an intermediary.
Haney denied being the subject of an investigation back in December. When a public records request for the outcome of the investigation was filed, the public records office said there were "no records responsive to the request."
Brock's employment ended on Dec. 13, according to his personnel file. The UNC Public Records office did not provide a termination letter for Brock.
The University's procedures state that appropriate offices "will maintain records of disciplinary actions or other corrective as part of an employee’s personnel record." Neither Haney or Brock has any disciplinary actions listed on their respective personnel files. The Daily Tar Heel previously reported that the rowers said Brock had been placed on leave in September before exiting in December.
Cunningham declined two interview requests regarding Haney's employment, but answered questions through a University spokesperson via email. He answered several questions at one time; those questions and their answers have been grouped together and listed below.
- What does Sarah Haney's new role entail? What responsibilities does she have?
- Why was she moved to the role of special assistant to the athletic director?
- What went into the decision to retain her as a special assistant to the athletic director?
- Who made the decision?
- When does Haney's contract with the university expire? Are there plans to have her continue in her current role after that point?
"As you know, Sarah served as our head rowing coach for almost two decades. When she decided to resign her head coaching duties, I asked if she would like to stay on to work on special projects, knowing that her experience as a long-time coach would enable her to help with research and share insights, particularly about how to make our rowing program better. Many of these appointments are annual, and as with everyone on our staff, we will continue to evaluate her role."
- Why was her transfer not mentioned in the press release about Haney's resignation from the position of head coach of the rowing team?
- Were the members of the rowing team notified of Haney's continued employment at the university? Were they informed of what the details of her new role would be?
- Did Cunningham or UNC Athletics receive any feedback or complaints from the rowers or their families if they were informed?
- Does Haney continue to have contact with the rowing program? If so, in what capacity?
"We were still finalizing the details about her new role at the time of the release. Once those details were finalized, we told our rowing team and staff that Sarah would be staying on as a special assistant. She is a resource in the Department, but her role does not entail regular contact with the program."
Cunningham declined to answer questions that involved Title IX or the investigation, including what the conclusion to the investigation into the rowing program was, whether Title IX violations were found and whether Haney's resignation as head coach was a result of the investigation.
Cunningham directed The Daily Tar Heel to the Office of University Communications for questions involving Title IX. When sent the questions, a University spokesperson replied via email "For privacy reasons, the University cannot confirm the existence or nonexistence of, or comment on, specific Title IX cases."
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