Men's swim coach John Trembley fired due to 'gross misconduct'

John Trembley

John Trembley

John Trembley, the second-longest tenured University of Tennessee coach — next to women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt — and one of UT’s most decorated swimmers, was fired Tuesday for “gross misconduct.”

UT vice chancellor and director of athletics Dave Hart said in a news release that the men’s swimming and diving coach now in his 23rd season was “relieved of his duties” in violation of his contract. Assistant coach Lars Jorgensen will serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

Trembley’s contract also stipulates that he “shall not be entitled to further salary, compensation, benefits.” Although the 59-year-old Trembley’s current base salary is not listed in the contract provided to the News Sentinel, he was earning close to $180,000 annually in total compensation.

In a letter from Hart to Trembley with Tuesday’s date, the AD writes that “for reasons we discussed today” he was being terminated from his position “for adequate cause” that is contained in his contract.

Hart cites Article XII, Section E, which defines acts of gross misconduct as “theft or dishonesty; gross insubordination; willful destruction of University property; falsification of records; acts of moral turpitude; reporting for duty under the influence of intoxicants; illegal use, manufacture, possession, distribution, or dispensing of controlled substances or alcohol; disorderly conduct; provoking a fight ... ”

Hart’s letter informs Trembley he has the right to appeal the decision. Options include a review by chancellor Jimmy Cheek or president Joe DiPietro, or request a hearing.

When asked if Hart would answer questions about Trembley, UT said since this is a personal matter, there will be no additional comment or statement.

A message left on Trembley’s cellphone was not returned.

Trembley was named SEC coach of the year in 2011, the sixth time he had been honored (1989, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2001).

His annual base salary at UT was $110,000 in July of 2007, but when his contract was amended at the time, UT elected to give Trembley a 3-percent pay raise on an annual basis. He also earned additional compensation of $10,000 for radio and television and $45,000 for shoe and apparel endorsement.

The contract was extended in October 2009 through June of 2014.

Trembley came to UT in 1971 as the nation’s top swimming prospect. The Vols were undefeated from 1971-74. During an All-America career, Trembly won or was a member of nine NCAA championship efforts.

After graduating from UT, Trembley served five years as an assistant from 1975-79. He became coach at Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania from 1980-88 before returning to UT in 1988 as coach replacing legendary Ray Bussard, who retired.

Jorgensen, who is a 1994 graduate and a former UT swimmer, is in his second season on the staff. He joined UT in August 2010 as an interim assistant before being promoted to a full-time assistant on June 30, 2011, assuming the position previously held by Joe Hendee, who died last April.

He previously was coach at Toledo for six years and spent five years as an assistant coach and associate head coach at LSU.

Phil Kaplan is sports editor for the News Sentinel. Follow him on Twitter at twittter.com/philkaplan

Get Copyright Permissions © 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2012 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 86

etu_vol_fan writes:

Wow! Coach of the year last year to out on his keister this year??

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say Hart serious.....!
Bones never lie.

OrangePride writes:

Jeez, Louise! Obviously more to come on this story.

Virgil_Tutwiler writes:

Needed to be fired a decade ago. Waaaay tooo much personal baggage. Far too much interest in his outside business interests (PA summer camps) and too little interest and success in the UT program.

FWBVol writes:

I'm 53 and have been following UT for about 45 years and I have never seen anything like what has happened with all of our men's sports in the last three or four years.

Across the board it's one bad news story after the next. I keep hoping the tennis team can keep up the good work, because we are about out of teams that don't have issues.

Trembley always impressed me as a class act who loved the University, but that doesn't mean he was or is above making a serious mistake in judgement, and obviously that must be the case here for him to be dismissed at this point in the swim season.

We all know the old saying that it's always darkest before the dawn. From where I sit, dawn must be about to break and the sun will shine bright again on Big Orange Country.

VFL.

Orange_Juiced writes:

in response to FWBVol:

I'm 53 and have been following UT for about 45 years and I have never seen anything like what has happened with all of our men's sports in the last three or four years.

Across the board it's one bad news story after the next. I keep hoping the tennis team can keep up the good work, because we are about out of teams that don't have issues.

Trembley always impressed me as a class act who loved the University, but that doesn't mean he was or is above making a serious mistake in judgement, and obviously that must be the case here for him to be dismissed at this point in the swim season.

We all know the old saying that it's always darkest before the dawn. From where I sit, dawn must be about to break and the sun will shine bright again on Big Orange Country.

VFL.

Hope you are right...good post.

CantStandCantStandSaban writes:

Geez. 23 years and don't let the door hit ya on the way out. I wonder if Hart just felt like he needed to fire somebody today and this poor guy just happened to be in the building?

oldster writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say Hart serious.....!
Bones never lie.

No, it makes him look kind of silly to me.

MaxPower writes:

in response to CantStandCantStandSaban:

Geez. 23 years and don't let the door hit ya on the way out. I wonder if Hart just felt like he needed to fire somebody today and this poor guy just happened to be in the building?

Times Free Press reporter says termination notificiation cited "gross misconduct."

That term could mean various things. It would have to be significant, though, for a mid-season firing in swimming.

FearlessFreep writes:

Wow, Wow, just ... WOW
This is huge .... Trembley *is* UT swimming. Musta been a serious lapse in judgement for Hart to take this step.
Judging from the state of affairs at UT, it must be NCAA-related. Hart doesn't need the NCAA on campus again.

ncvol17 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

ROCKYTOPBRAD writes:

Yeah we can't have a coach of the year around here at Mediocre U! YOUR FIRED.

rlsmith2212#266663 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

wildmed writes:

I pray this is as far as it goes, though I have a bad feeling about this.

Razor784 writes:

in response to FWBVol:

I'm 53 and have been following UT for about 45 years and I have never seen anything like what has happened with all of our men's sports in the last three or four years.

Across the board it's one bad news story after the next. I keep hoping the tennis team can keep up the good work, because we are about out of teams that don't have issues.

Trembley always impressed me as a class act who loved the University, but that doesn't mean he was or is above making a serious mistake in judgement, and obviously that must be the case here for him to be dismissed at this point in the swim season.

We all know the old saying that it's always darkest before the dawn. From where I sit, dawn must be about to break and the sun will shine bright again on Big Orange Country.

VFL.

Right on the money, tennis is about the only sport right now that is winning at a high level. There's obviously more to come out of this story. Stay tuned.

VolzsFan writes:

in response to ROCKYTOPBRAD:

Yeah we can't have a coach of the year around here at Mediocre U! YOUR FIRED.

Most successful coach in UT football history, basketball history and baseball history where jettisoned. One of the most successful in track history left to stay ahead of the Hamilton posse. Mediocre U cannot stand any prosperity.

trgclychip writes:

Just another example of the disarray in the UTAD. I have loved UT for decades. I cant say that now.

Pullingguard writes:

in response to Virgil_Tutwiler:

Needed to be fired a decade ago. Waaaay tooo much personal baggage. Far too much interest in his outside business interests (PA summer camps) and too little interest and success in the UT program.

How can you say too little success in the program when he is being honored as coach of the year, even in 2011... Do you think Hart may have objective to clean house and get all his good ole boys and girls in house... It happens..

NeylandWest writes:

Anyone know the detail here?

joebob1111 writes:

in response to rlsmith2212#266663:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

last year, UT's athletic department did not lose any money. even with the football coach making that much.

RunningWithTheVols writes:

Integrity trumps wins.

Hopefully, there is nothing horrible, here. AAU swimming has had a few terrible scandals the past few years.

papavol writes:

in response to Grantlands_Red_Beans_and_Rice:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

There is obviously a reason behind Hart firing this man after an outstanding 2011 season. This has nothing to do with wins or losses. Hate on Dooley all you want, lord knows i do, but when you are "relieved of duty" after a winning season, it has nothing to do with your record and more to do with your character.

troken writes:

Shouldn't be diving in the deep end...

volbike writes:

Some time next week The News Cynical will report that UT has hired Randy Shannon as Defensive Coordinator for over 1mm a year!!

MOOREVOLS writes:

in response to rlsmith2212#266663:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Obviously you don't know how the Tennessee athletic department is run. Without football and men's basketball there are no other sports on the campus. Also, there are less donations for regular student scholarships, less donations for academic building upgrades and additions along with alot of other academic things without football and men's basketball money. The football and men's basketball teams pay for themselves as well as so many things on the academic side it's unreal. Tennessee needs football and basketball to grow the university in many ways, not just on the sports side. We are very blessed to have the athletic money we do at The University of Tennessee. Everyone should hope like crazy football and men's basketball are successful. Academic growth is tied to it big time.

Purple_at_Heart writes:

I haven't seen the TV media report on this yet. Perhaps I just missed it.

abnermc writes:

red panties?

oldster writes:

in response to oldster:

No, it makes him look kind of silly to me.

I made that post before it was explained why he was let go. If he was let go for gross misconduct, and he does not fight it, then Hart's decision was good. If he does fight it, then we will find out more details and can determine for ourselves with whom we agree.

1vavolfan writes:

You mean no $900,000 buyout? At least one coach didn't fleece Hamilton.

volaholic45 writes:

The hits keep coming. Hoping Dooley is right, but as of January 3, 2012 is giving 2011 a run for its money, suckagewise.

Virgil_Tutwiler writes:

in response to Pullingguard:

How can you say too little success in the program when he is being honored as coach of the year, even in 2011... Do you think Hart may have objective to clean house and get all his good ole boys and girls in house... It happens..

He was coach of the year because the program was down so long that finishing in the middle of the pack was a surprise. The Vols still had no chance to win the title.

I know quite a few alumni swimmers who will be thrilled he is gone. It is a very common conversation when I am with them as they talk consistently about Trembley's "personal" problem. His more apparent interest at activity in Pennsylvania than here and his basically leaving the program in the hands of assistants.

When I was at UT 20-years ago, the swimming program was by far the most successful men's sport at UT (track would be close). There is no denying the program is only a shadow of its former self.

Outdated facilities can explain some of this but the Vols were losing to programs in similar state.

I have a feeling Trembley's well known demons had a role in this somehow.

SevenT writes:

This guy must be a complete idiot to get fired from a job for cause!! That means he was either on drugs, sleeping with the players, stealing etc. Good Riddance

AllforTenn writes:

in response to ROCKYTOPBRAD:

Yeah we can't have a coach of the year around here at Mediocre U! YOUR FIRED.

But you can have mediocre grammar. Ever hear of "you're?"

tovolny writes:

I HATE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS!!!!!

thevoice writes:

in response to papavol:

There is obviously a reason behind Hart firing this man after an outstanding 2011 season. This has nothing to do with wins or losses. Hate on Dooley all you want, lord knows i do, but when you are "relieved of duty" after a winning season, it has nothing to do with your record and more to do with your character.

Right. I'm scared to know what the real reason was. Guess we'll see how good UTAD is at keeping a secret. My first thought was, maybe Hart is just seeing how to dismiss a head coach, in case he needs to do it again soon. Guess not, though. This sounds serious. Thankfully, it's "only" a personal issue and not a legal one.

PHAT_VOL writes:

Hart is taking the Bull by the Horns. Kicking arse and taking names. No foolishness gonna be tollerated on the hill. From anyone.
I hope Coach Dooley reads this and gets the message and buckles down.
Coach Martin is on the right track and looks to be the real deal. I like the guy. Plays real B-ball. Like make your foul shots and take charges. GO VOLS !!!

BadBob70 writes:

in response to AllforTenn:

But you can have mediocre grammar. Ever hear of "you're?"

Thanks. I couldn't figure it out, since it took me 9 tries to pass 5 English classes. ;)

VandyisGold writes:

Hey witch,
Dave Hart is serious. He was a great hire. His finger prints will be all over the next DC.

TommyJack writes:

in response to oldster:

No, it makes him look kind of silly to me.

How so?

gbridgford#1405082 writes:

We MUST trust the boss and Hart is the BOSS!" A Kansas Vol for life"!!!!

rummymouse writes:

in response to Virgil_Tutwiler:

Needed to be fired a decade ago. Waaaay tooo much personal baggage. Far too much interest in his outside business interests (PA summer camps) and too little interest and success in the UT program.

Just curious what you do for a living, if anything, because you certainly don't have a life responding to this. Success? 6 X's SEC coach, 23 seasons, 9 NCAA champ efforts, not to mention his 4 year success as a swimmer! What have you done that you want to be acknowledged for OR NOT! Whatever the reason for his dismissal, it isn't for something heinious. He probably was insubordinate for saying what was on his mind about our new AD. What's up with tenure and our education system these days? Get um out before retirement? save some money? I guess that is why we have to mention his salary! I am embarrassed to be an UT alumni! Can we not stand behind our coaches? First BP and now this. RIDICULOUS! I say APPEAL and sue UT for harassment! RM

rummymouse writes:

in response to SevenT:

This guy must be a complete idiot to get fired from a job for cause!! That means he was either on drugs, sleeping with the players, stealing etc. Good Riddance

you are misinformed or ignorant

rummymouse writes:

in response to Grantlands_Red_Beans_and_Rice:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

you are just ignorant

etu_vol_fan writes:

And I want the rest of you cowboys to know something, there's a new sheriff in town. And his name is Reggie Hammond.

keepitreal4vols writes:

did he pee in the pool?

collegegrad writes:

Well, his career is over because at his age and the fact that he was fired for gross misconduct, no other college/university will hire him. Therefore, he would be blacklisted. Since the story mentions where his contract stated that he would no longer receive compensation or benefits, does this mean that the university has cut off his pension? Anyway, by getting fired, he pretty much screwed up. I wonder if he'll have to hunt a job, which requires him to use the phrase, "Do you want fries with that?"

ladelock#332850 writes:

Sounds like things got a little wild and wooly at the UT Christmas party this year.......

rummymouse writes:

in response to gbridgford#1405082:

We MUST trust the boss and Hart is the BOSS!" A Kansas Vol for life"!!!!

We'll see, you aren't in Kansas!

rummymouse writes:

in response to etu_vol_fan:

Wow! Coach of the year last year to out on his keister this year??

Who next? Let me guess? Summitt? Let her retire graciously, please!

rummymouse writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say Hart serious.....!
Bones never lie.

I'm sorry, what is your point?

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features