Police, prosecutors meet in probe of ex-UT swim coach John Trembley

John  Trembley

Photo by Saul Young

John Trembley

Whatever led to John Trembley's firing could lead the ex-University of Tennessee swim coach to a courtroom, but no one's saying for what or why.

UT police turned over their findings Thursday to Knoxville Police Department investigators. Police and prosecutors have filed no charges but met to discuss a criminal investigation into the "gross misconduct" that led to the six-time SEC Coach of the Year's firing earlier this week.

UT hasn't described that "misconduct." UT Police Chief Gloria Graham, who leaves for another job in two weeks, wouldn't answer any questions before or after the meeting.

"We're not giving any comment," Graham said.

Trembley has hired defense lawyer Don Bosch, who also gave no details.

"Coach Trembley looks forward to addressing the results from this investigation at the appropriate time," Bosch wrote in a statement.

Graham and UT police investigators met for about an hour with Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch, Deputy Chief Gus Paidousis and others, including KPD Investigator Richard Giammarino and Bill Bright, a Knox County assistant district attorney general.

Giammarino, a veteran KPD detective, typically investigates fraud, forgery, embezzlement and other financial crimes. Bright previously worked as a prosecutor in Shelby County, where he oversaw white-collar crime cases, and served as special prosecutor in the case

against Cynthia Finch, Knox County's former senior community services director, convicted last year of forgery.

KPD spokesman Darrell DeBusk, who attended the meeting, said three other KPD investigators from other units in the Criminal Investigation Division also attended. He wouldn't say which investigators or what units.

"If I give you the units, it's going to identify what we're investigating," he said.

Trembley, who held tenure longer than any UT coach except women's basketball coach Pat Summitt, had a personnel record brimming with praise and a record as one of the university's most decorated swimmers.

Dave Hart, UT vice chancellor and director of athletics, notified Trembley in a letter Tuesday the coach would be "relieved of his duties" for violation of his contract. Trembley was in his 23rd swimming season as coach.

"For the reasons we discussed today, the university has determined that you have engaged in acts of gross misconduct as defined by university policy," Hart wrote.

Trembley's contract, which was extended in October 2009 and would have lasted through June 2014, defines 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."

Trembley has the right to appeal his firing.

The ex-coach came to UT in 1971 as the nation's top swimming prospect. During an All-American career, Trembley won or was a member of nine NCAA championship efforts.

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Comments » 33

Razor784 writes:

They're keeping a tight lid on this one, perhaps a hint at embezzlement in the article.

ORboy writes:

It certainly sounds like a financial fraud issue. Given other school's recent coaching problems, simply misusing funds is a big relief. I just hope it doesn't rise to "Leslie Janous" levels.

fischbobber writes:

in response to Razor784:

They're keeping a tight lid on this one, perhaps a hint at embezzlement in the article.

At this point it's all keister covering. U.T. is looking to the D.A. to bail them out, but they may well have overplayed their hand. Should this be related to addiction, the ADA kicks in and I believe the University may well have stepped over the line prescribed by law. There is not as lot of money to embezzle over at the aquatic center. Were there an actual victim to his alleged crime, there would have likely been a real report by now.

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

Please God let this be a financial crime with no children involved.

Also...UT is handling this the right way. Let the investigation progress without the media calling up witnesses and making everything insane and infinitely more complicated. Knoxville police are building a case for indictment and trial. Patience.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Dunno.

Surprising.

Just know this was not needed.

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to fischbobber:

At this point it's all keister covering. U.T. is looking to the D.A. to bail them out, but they may well have overplayed their hand. Should this be related to addiction, the ADA kicks in and I believe the University may well have stepped over the line prescribed by law. There is not as lot of money to embezzle over at the aquatic center. Were there an actual victim to his alleged crime, there would have likely been a real report by now.

please stop sharing your useless, paranoid opinions and thanks for stopping by.

CrankE writes:

So how many times is this that KNS has rehashed the same storyline with no new info?

Great micro picture of JT by the way. Why can't you do that to John Adams pic?

FanNotSheep writes:

Sometimes people need money to support illegal behavior. You would think the salary Trembley earned would support most folks in this region. It's not exactly San Francisco or New York City.

I_Bleed_Orng writes:

in response to fischbobber:

At this point it's all keister covering. U.T. is looking to the D.A. to bail them out, but they may well have overplayed their hand. Should this be related to addiction, the ADA kicks in and I believe the University may well have stepped over the line prescribed by law. There is not as lot of money to embezzle over at the aquatic center. Were there an actual victim to his alleged crime, there would have likely been a real report by now.

Ridiculous post. No ADA law is going to protect this guy from any crimes he may have committed. To say UT "overplayed its hand" is to insinuate that they have an agenda against this guy. Hart's only agenda is to hold this guy accountable for his actions and to protect the University, which, BTW, is his job.

This post is a great example of why so many people hate lawyers.

I_Bleed_Orng writes:

in response to Grantlands_Red_Beans_and_Rice:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Dude.

Your hatred of Dooley is irrational. I think I called you out on this before when you had a different user name. This situation has nothing to do with Dooley or football. Continuing to bring up this ludicrous argument on every thread wastes everyone's time.

Actually, it's rather funny at this point. Dooley's here for at least another year, probably just hired a great DC in Randy Shannon, and has the program headed in the right direction. Yet, you try your best to turn everything negative.

I've always found it funny to watch children through temper tantrums. They make such fools of themselves.

volinlouisvilleky writes:

in response to I_Bleed_Orng:

Dude.

Your hatred of Dooley is irrational. I think I called you out on this before when you had a different user name. This situation has nothing to do with Dooley or football. Continuing to bring up this ludicrous argument on every thread wastes everyone's time.

Actually, it's rather funny at this point. Dooley's here for at least another year, probably just hired a great DC in Randy Shannon, and has the program headed in the right direction. Yet, you try your best to turn everything negative.

I've always found it funny to watch children through temper tantrums. They make such fools of themselves.

Reminds me of Opie on the Andy Griffith show when he's throwing the temper tantrum, kicking and screaming, rolling on the ground, and Andy asks him "Opie what on earth are you doing?" and Opie says "throwing a temper tantrum" and Andy says "Oh ok just don't get your chothes dirty"

Chappy writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Whoa there...who said anyting about victims? This isn't a fan fiction forum. You all start more gossip and rumors than a bunch of women.

fischbobber writes:

in response to I_Bleed_Orng:

Ridiculous post. No ADA law is going to protect this guy from any crimes he may have committed. To say UT "overplayed its hand" is to insinuate that they have an agenda against this guy. Hart's only agenda is to hold this guy accountable for his actions and to protect the University, which, BTW, is his job.

This post is a great example of why so many people hate lawyers.

Read the clause he was fired under. It's mighty broad. One would think that were there enough evidence to justify dismissal over suspension, there would be enough evidence to indict. Can you say financial restitution?

FanNotSheep writes:

This could be about issues ranging from alleged drug abuse to gambling to stalking to who in the world knows. The best thing to do is wait until the authorities decide to either press charges or not, then we will at least know if it is extremely serious or more of a personal problem.

Whatever the reason, it is unfortunate timing for the school. UT could use a long vacation from the national media right now. Unfortunately, the bad news just continues to pile up.

Ayres_Hall writes:

in response to Chappy:

Whoa there...who said anyting about victims? This isn't a fan fiction forum. You all start more gossip and rumors than a bunch of women.

Bunch of Drama Queens, in fact. The good news is that some of them will actually grow up and mature. Those who don't will poison trees or something.

GetSimmsandTeagueout writes:

I hope he's not another Sandusky.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Unlikely any victims would go the UT Police first.

Witch_Doctors writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

CoverOrange writes:

in response to fischbobber:

Read the clause he was fired under. It's mighty broad. One would think that were there enough evidence to justify dismissal over suspension, there would be enough evidence to indict. Can you say financial restitution?

Can't indict until charges are brought and grand jury convened. If fraud or embezzlement, documents signed by him would be pretty good evidence, especially if he admitted it to Hart in their conversation.

CoverOrange writes:

The fact that the UT Police called in Hart first and had to THINK about calling the KPD after, suggests victimless crime.

fischbobber writes:

It's a broad clause. A fair assumption would be that overstating a minor infraction would constitute a violation of the equal protection clause of the U.S. constitution and that the KPD and KCSO may choose to distance themselves from a misdemeanor that may or may not be a class E felony. A meeting like the one described in the KNS implies something either really big or really small.

It's becoming harder and harder to believe that J.T. was covering up his problems to the extent the A.D. is covering up his. I see a significant settlement.

CarlChilders writes:

in response to CrankE:

So how many times is this that KNS has rehashed the same storyline with no new info?

Great micro picture of JT by the way. Why can't you do that to John Adams pic?

Now that you've called it to my attention, that is one tiny pic. Kind of like a thumbnail of a thumbnail.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to fischbobber:

It's a broad clause. A fair assumption would be that overstating a minor infraction would constitute a violation of the equal protection clause of the U.S. constitution and that the KPD and KCSO may choose to distance themselves from a misdemeanor that may or may not be a class E felony. A meeting like the one described in the KNS implies something either really big or really small.

It's becoming harder and harder to believe that J.T. was covering up his problems to the extent the A.D. is covering up his. I see a significant settlement.

Depends on how much Trembley wants to get out in public. A court case suing for violation of contract would drag out everything. To avoid court for both sides any settlement probably would not be "significant".

madrigal writes:

Until we actually KNOW something, all this speculation is just silly. Any of you ever heard of patience?

CoverOrange writes:

in response to madrigal:

Until we actually KNOW something, all this speculation is just silly. Any of you ever heard of patience?

What? And deprive KNS of revenue generating posts?

FLVOL_79 writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No worse than people who work the sidelines for UF....

CoverOrange writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Could be porno on his computer. If regular porno, grounds for dismissal. If illegal porno then grounds for calling the cops. They may not be sure if illegal stuff or not. No specific victim, not sure of a crime, fireable but not yet determined to be jailable or public flogging. Could be big, but not necessarily. I'll be patient and see.

VolsToGo writes:

We've had such a variety of bad news over the past 2 years it's really difficult to categorize all the whats, whys and whens. But there is a common thread and it's spelled ‘Hamilton’. While JT likely made the decision on his own to do whatever he allegedly did, where was the oversight in the athletic department that could have potentially discovered and ended the alleged inappropriate behavior? Is there no end to the extent that Hammy's poor performance raped and pillaged the UTAD?

fischbobber writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Depends on how much Trembley wants to get out in public. A court case suing for violation of contract would drag out everything. To avoid court for both sides any settlement probably would not be "significant".

At this point Trembley's got nothing. The morals clause of his contract allows him to be fired for just about anything. Depending upon how one defines "moral turpitude" and one's point of view, he could literally be fired for voting. If this is going to cost him his marriage, it's already cost it. Athletes and coaches aren't saints, they're competitors. He has a contract through 2014 and unless the University has proof that his wrongdoing was something not condoned, or least tolerated, by previous administrations, then they probably owe him his contract and, frankly, since they've now willfully ruined the guy's career, just compensation for destroying the last ten years of a 250,000 dollar a year job. Plus damages.

This has been a poorly handled personnel move. This ain't Alabama and Trembley ain't Ken Donahue.

SouthPaVol writes:

in response to Chappy:

Whoa there...who said anyting about victims? This isn't a fan fiction forum. You all start more gossip and rumors than a bunch of women.

Didn't you know, Chappy? Graduate of MSU, "Making S!*t up." Reads rag fantasy magazines from the grocery store and watches soap operas.

TKO writes:

Good grief. What's next?

rummymouse writes:

I hear a lot of assumptions here. I think it is awful for people with nothing better to do then sit around making slanderous statements about someone you don't know anything about. If the roles were reversed, how would you feel? RM

STLVOLS writes:

I was a student at UTK when VOL swim team was veryyyyyyyyyy good in national rankings, for all you couch potatoes. Trembley was on that team.

Trembley looks like he has aged since the 70s.

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