University of Guelph fires track and field coach after allegations of unprofessional conduct

The University of Guelph says it has fired track and field coach Dave Scott-Thomas after athletes made allegations of 'unprofessional conduct.'

University says well-being of student athletes 'a priority'

University of Guelph has fired track and field coach Dave Scott-Thomas after past and current student athletes alleged 'unprofessional conduct,' the school said in a statement Tuesday. (Submitted by the University of Guelph)

The University of Guelph has fired track and field coach Dave Scott-Thomas for "past unprofessional conduct," the school said in a statement Tuesday.

Scott-Thomas had been on personal leave while the university said it investigated information from former and current athletes "regarding their experiences on the team."

"During the course of reviewing this information and in the last 24 hours, the university became privy to new information regarding past unprofessional conduct," the statement said.

The university did not specify what the unprofessional conduct Scott-Thomas is accused of.

"The well-being of our student athletes is a priority; the university does not tolerate conduct from its coaches that is inconsistent with the core values and beliefs of the University of Guelph and our university's coaches code of conduct."

Scott-Thomas has also served as head coach and founder of the Speed River Track and Field Club. The club's manager said Scott-Thomas has not been coaching any SRTFC athletes since the university began its review in early October. 

"At this time, there is no plan for Dave to resume coaching duties with Speed River Track and Field Club," said club manager Scott MacDonald in an email.

MacDonald said the university has not shared any information about its investigation with the club beyond what has been announced publicly. The club has also not received any complaints involving its members or other athletes, he said.

Athletics Canada severs ties

Scott-Thomas has had a long-standing relationship with Athletics Canada, the country's national governing body of athletics.

According to a statement posted to the organization's website, Scott-Thomas served as a volunteer coach on a variety of national teams between 2005 and 2019. He was also an event group distance coach with Athletics Canada between 2006 and 2007.

Between April 2013 and March 2017, Athletics Canada had an agreement in place with Scott-Thomas and the SRTFC for endurance coaching services. From April 2018 until today, both the SRTFC and the University of Guelph were recognized as an Athletics Canada High Performance Centre of Excellence.

On Dec. 17, Athletics Canada announced that it had terminated the SRTFC and the University of Guelph's position as a High Performance Centre of Excellence. 

The independent Athletics Canada Office of the Commissioner will now review the university's decision and "any other relevant information" that is revealed. Athletics Canada said neither it nor the commissioner's office has received any complaints about Scott-Thomas, the SRTFC or the University of Guelph since the office was established in 2015, and that it will review previous records to determine whether any complaints were made before 2015.

Scott-Thomas coached Canadian athletes at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. A biography on the university's website says Scott-Thomas has won the U Sports coach of the year award 35 times.