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Baylor tennis coach's resignation followed investigation of messages to student

Baylor tennis coach's resignation followed investigation of messages to student

From the Trib Top 25: Our most-read stories of 2020 series

Baylor University head men’s tennis coach Brian Boland’s surprise resignation last month came after university officials investigated him on allegations he sent inappropriate text messages to a student who had hoped to make the Baylor women’s team.

Boland was hired at Baylor before the 2018 tennis season, and his abrupt departure without an apparent new job offer left many wondering why he resigned.

The Tribune-Herald obtained screen shots of text messages and social media posts that appear to be from Boland to the student, who started school at Baylor in 2017 after moving from the east coast. Boland appears to ask the student to meet him in at least two text messages that came from Boland’s phone. In a subsequent Facebook message, the student tells Boland she felt disrespected and found the messages “not only inappropriate but extremely unprofessional.”

Boland did not respond this week to messages from the Tribune-Herald seeking comment for this story.

Baylor President Linda Livingstone said, “I can’t speak to that. It’s a personnel issue. He resigned, and we wish him all the best.”

Boland’s associate head coach Michael Woodson was named interim men’s head coach for the 2020-21 season. He deferred comment to David Kaye, Baylor associate athletics director for communications.

“Brian Boland is no longer employed by Baylor University. As a personnel matter, we have no further comment,” Kaye said.

In one message, sent from Boland’s phone at 11:03 p.m. with no date shown, Boland speaks of meeting the woman “tomorrow or Friday.”

A former Baylor tennis player and a friend of the woman who asked not to be identified said the student had hoped Boland would intervene on her behalf with women’s tennis coach Joey Scrivano to see if he would reconsider his decision to not allow her on the team.

The message continues: “Want to go out for some dinner and beers? I am thinking tomorrow night on me?”

The materials do not show a response from the student.

In another series of messages that appear to be sent from Boland’s phone at 3:27 a.m., Boland says, “I guess I’m in your doghouse. If you can find something open I will meet you now since I am wide awake. Is there a bar open? I am dead serious. Of course this is not something you share with (a friend of the student and a member of Boland’s team) but since I cannot sleep I am game.”

After no response from the student, a message from Boland’s phone says, “Haha. Have you recovered yet? HaHa. Or are you seeing what is open?”

Again, after no response, a text from Boland’s phone says, “Hello.” Later, a message says, “Haha.”

The student did not return phone messages this week from the Tribune-Herald.

She wrote a Facebook message to Boland that starts out by saying it took her quite a while to decide if she should “even acknowledge these messages” and what she would say if she did.

“Those messages were not only inappropriate but extremely unprofessional,” she wrote to Boland on Facebook. “I feel completely disrespected. I reached out to you because of our interaction in your office with (another tennis player and friend) and the impression it gave me that you were one of the good guys.

“I briefly shared a story with you and then opened up again when I reached out and said I wanted to join the team. You messaging me at midnight multiple times to ask me to meet you at a bar not only made me feel very uncomfortable, but showed me you really had no interest or intention of helping me or taking my request seriously. I am disappointed once again in the character and behavior of Baylor’s tennis coaches,” the post says.

In an email to the student from Brianna Gilbreath, a case coordinator in Baylor’s Title IX Office, Gilbreath said she was “reaching out” to provide her with an update.

“While we cannot share details, we can assure that the concerns with Brian Boland have been addressed,” she wrote. “If you receive any contact from him, please contact us immediately. If you need any further assistance with anything please don’t hesitate to reach out.”

Boland announced his surprise resignation July 29. He won four national titles over a five-year span at the University of Virginia from 2013-17, and was a two-time Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Coach of the Year.

In his short tenure at Baylor, he compiled a 38-9 record, going 25-6 and winning the Big 12 tournament in 2019. The team was 13-3 during the 2020 season that was abbreviated by COVID-19.

“I wish to thank my Baylor family, especially my dedicated and talented players, coaches and staff,” Boland said in a statement announcing his resignation. “Without their effort and dedication, the success we have enjoyed over the last two years would not have been possible. I also wish to thank the Baylor administration, especially athletic director Mack Rhoades, Jeramiah Dickey and Kenny Boyd for the kindness, grace and support that each of them has shown me, my family and the Baylor tennis program.

“It has been an honor and privilege to have worked with all of the great people in and around Baylor tennis. I leave this program with a sense of pride and accomplishment and look forward to what lies ahead of me both personally and professionally. I wish Michael Woodson and Baylor tennis all the best as they continue their pursuit of excellence.”

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