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

John Trembley

John Trembley

KNOXVILLE — Former University of Tennessee swim coach John Trembley has hired a lawyer as police and prosecutors meet today to discuss a criminal investigation into the "gross misconduct" that led to his firing.

UT Police Chief Gloria Graham and investigators met this morning with a Knox County prosecutor and KPD Investigator Richard Giammarino.

Graham showed up and left without giving any details or answering any questions about the investigation.

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

UT hasn't described the "gross misconduct" that cost Trembley his job.

Giammarino, a veteran KPD detective, typically investigates fraud, forgery, embezzlement and other financial crimes.

Defense lawyer Don Bosch said today that he represents Trembley, although no charges have been filed. Bosch has given no other details.

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

Police and prosecutors were meeting this morning "to determine what the scope of the investigation might be," KPD Chief David Rausch said Wednesday night.

"The UT police chief (Gloria Graham) called me Tuesday night and asked us to take the lead in the investigation," Rausch said.

Rausch declined to discuss the nature of the probe.

Likewise, the university on Wednesday would not discuss the specifics of Trembley's firing.

"The finding of gross misconduct led us to turn this case over to the proper law enforcement authorities," Margie Nichols, UT's vice chancellor for communications, said in a statement.

"Since this is an ongoing investigation, we are unable to comment further."

Attempts to reach Trembley for comment have been unsuccessful.

Trembley was the second-longest tenured UT coach — next to women's basketball coach Pat Summitt — and one of the university's most decorated swimmers.

Dave Hart, UT vice chancellor and director of athletics, said in a news release Tuesday that the men's swimming and diving coach, who was in his 23rd season, was "relieved of his duties" in violation of his contract.

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 UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy Cheek or UT system President Joe DiPietro, or request a hearing.

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

His contract was extended in October 2009 through June 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, Trembley won or was a member of nine NCAA championship efforts.

More details as they develop online and in Friday's News Sentinel.

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Comments » 56

CrankE writes:

Hmmm, KPD won't comment on an ongoing investigation. Charges haven't been filed. Yet Hart had apparently seen enough to pass judgment and fire him for cause.

I hope that Hart has done the right thing here and done so at the first opportunity. If this is the case, then Hart's actions bring some desperately needed credibility to UT's Athletic Department.

voldrcrdr writes:

Based on the area of expertise of the investigator assigned to this case, it looks like this relates to some inappropriate actions related to the handling of money. So, at least we can stop worrying about another Penn Sate scenario happening here.

THEKIDWISCONSIN writes:

Well said CrankE

If this was still Hamilton's watch...Trembley would have gotten a $1m buyout...after charges were filed!

SummittsCourt writes:

looking more like embezzlement or somehow involving money. wheeew

gc_scvol writes:

in response to THEKIDWISCONSIN:

Well said CrankE

If this was still Hamilton's watch...Trembley would have gotten a $1m buyout...after charges were filed!

You do realize Hamilton is gone and you're beating a dead horse,don't you? Quit your whining!

NeylandWest writes:

Looks like the coach really dove into some hot water and will likely drown under media scrutiny and swim in a sea of speculation until the facts splash onto the front page. Meanwhile, fans and alumni are just treading water as we wait.

Let's just hope it isn't 37 days until we hear from someone or KNS will implode.

Oh, the humanity.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to gc_scvol:

You do realize Hamilton is gone and you're beating a dead horse,don't you? Quit your whining!

But it was a funny dead horse.

Trembly was caught red-handed skimming off the top of the pool of money Hamilton left behind.

JasonFate writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

But it was a funny dead horse.

Trembly was caught red-handed skimming off the top of the pool of money Hamilton left behind.

Not really, as he got no compensation, per his CONTRACT. No matter who the AD was, the ex-coach would receive nothing.

Vol4Life35 writes:

in response to gc_scvol:

You do realize Hamilton is gone and you're beating a dead horse,don't you? Quit your whining!

You do realize this America and everyone has the rights to beat the horse regardless of how dead it might be? Quit being rude!

VOLliven2it writes:

Wow, who's next, womens' lacrosse coach? The hits in the UT athletics department just keep coming. I know with Coach Summit it is tragic; thoughts and prayers are with her and she seems to be doing well. But all the rest is utterly ridiculous. I reserve how I think I might feel about this until that "appropriate time" arrives which Trembley's lawyer stated would be when he responds. Rocky top is definitely Rocky with no Bullwinkle around to help.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to JasonFate:

Not really, as he got no compensation, per his CONTRACT. No matter who the AD was, the ex-coach would receive nothing.

Way to put a damper on the plethora of double meanings of a bad joke. The skimming would have been before being fired thus why he was skimming and thus why he was fired.

gc_scvol writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

But it was a funny dead horse.

Trembly was caught red-handed skimming off the top of the pool of money Hamilton left behind.

If you think that was funny, you're pretty slow.

gc_scvol writes:

in response to Vol4Life35:

You do realize this America and everyone has the rights to beat the horse regardless of how dead it might be? Quit being rude!

This America? Well put.

runnervu writes:

Have know the Coach for many years, would be very surprised to find out he had gone astray.
Reserve judgment till all evidence is out.
My family will still support JT

keepitreal4vols writes:

So somebody tried to keep all the ticket gate money. slap on the wrist would have been sufficient.

Bubba_Knows writes:

Not the swim program too??????????????

agentorange writes:

Dear KNS, a police report gets filled out when a crime is reported. Go get it.

thevoice writes:

Sounds like he dipped into the petty cash drawer, maybe to buy a floaty or noodle.

arkyvol writes:

in response to THEKIDWISCONSIN:

Well said CrankE

If this was still Hamilton's watch...Trembley would have gotten a $1m buyout...after charges were filed!

agreed. if incompetence was a criminal offense, hammy would be on death row.

FWBVol writes:

Thankfully, for all concerned, it now looks as if the biggest victim might be the cash box of the men's swimming progam and Trembley himself.

I know John Trembley is innocent until proven guilty and we all need to remember that.

I agree with CrankE that hopefully this situation is a matter of Dave Hart seeing enough evidence to make a swift move and then let the legal process play it's course.

It really is a Catch 22 situation. If you fire Trembley, or any other coach, before charges are filed, you risk looking bad if the person is exhonorated. If you wait until the charges are filed, then the misconduct could continue for the period of the investigation and people will scream that Hart should have acted sooner.

The bottom line is none of us know if the conversation between Hart and Trembley on Tuesday that preceeded the firing was the first on this matter or if there had been others.

We do know now that we have an AD that is willing to make hard decisions quickly.

arkyvol writes:

in response to gc_scvol:

You do realize Hamilton is gone and you're beating a dead horse,don't you? Quit your whining!

would to god that the residue of his incompetence were just as gone. the baseball team has been decontaminated. likewise the b.ball team. vol football is a toxic waste site.

UTAlum88 (Inactive) writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say D cord. Steve Ellis? no way! looks real...!
Bones never lie.
*Witch Doctor say its crazy rumor Thursday! Witch Doctor have brother in law that used to work with a lady thats husbands brothers 2nd wife worked in the Admissions office and says take it to the bank!!
*wink

CrankE writes:

in response to FWBVol:

Thankfully, for all concerned, it now looks as if the biggest victim might be the cash box of the men's swimming progam and Trembley himself.

I know John Trembley is innocent until proven guilty and we all need to remember that.

I agree with CrankE that hopefully this situation is a matter of Dave Hart seeing enough evidence to make a swift move and then let the legal process play it's course.

It really is a Catch 22 situation. If you fire Trembley, or any other coach, before charges are filed, you risk looking bad if the person is exhonorated. If you wait until the charges are filed, then the misconduct could continue for the period of the investigation and people will scream that Hart should have acted sooner.

The bottom line is none of us know if the conversation between Hart and Trembley on Tuesday that preceeded the firing was the first on this matter or if there had been others.

We do know now that we have an AD that is willing to make hard decisions quickly.

Agreed:

AD's aren't paid to make the easy decisions-nor to wait until the circumstances are patently obvious to all. They are leaders and are supposed to...you know...lead.

Lord Hamilton, the Indecisive did this with the decision to fire Buzz, Bruce, and Fulmer. Hammy's hand-wringing ultimately cost himself credibility and cost UT in terms of the strength of the programs.

Hart on the other hand accepted the risk, made a decision, and took action. I hope that time will prove it to be the right one.

One more thing: By firing Trembley immediately, UT is able to distance itself from some of the fallout of this investigation. Limit the damage as it were. This is a sharp move.

GBOEngineer writes:

in response to arkyvol:

agreed. if incompetence was a criminal offense, hammy would be on death row.

You really have no idea how wrong you are, do you?

Timbo_Slice writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say D cord. Steve Ellis? no way! looks real...!
Bones never lie.
*Witch Doctor say its crazy rumor Thursday! Witch Doctor have brother in law that used to work with a lady thats husbands brothers 2nd wife worked in the Admissions office and says take it to the bank!!
*wink

Who is Steve Ellis? Fill us in Doc!

txsvol#372416 writes:

in response to Timbo_Slice:

Who is Steve Ellis? Fill us in Doc!

Steve Ellis is the defensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee. Surely we can aim higher, unless he is being considered for special teams coach. Go Vols! SAVol

hansardm#325001 writes:

Can Paterno coach swiming? We can promise him if something does go wrong again, UT won't let anyone know WHAT was done!

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to txsvol#372416:

Steve Ellis is the defensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee. Surely we can aim higher, unless he is being considered for special teams coach. Go Vols! SAVol

Witch Doctor hear he was in Knoxville!
Bones never lie.
*wink(we are supposed to spread this like its true)

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

in response to agentorange:

Dear KNS, a police report gets filled out when a crime is reported. Go get it.

Not during an ongoing investigation.

This will all come out, especially if there are criminal charges.

I'll wait. You can, too.

Timbo_Slice writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor hear he was in Knoxville!
Bones never lie.
*wink(we are supposed to spread this like its true)

These rumor mills about hiring new coaches have become an annual event lately!

VolzsFan writes:

in response to THEKIDWISCONSIN:

Well said CrankE

If this was still Hamilton's watch...Trembley would have gotten a $1m buyout...after charges were filed!

Your premise is wrong. Hammy was a total idiot way over his head and responsible for the downfall of the athletic department into mediocre U. That is not debatable. But the "Industry" dictates buyouts and Tenn is in that "industry" and not above it. No coach wants to wear Orange SOOOOO BAD that he will forgo the buyout clause that he would get at any other similar sized school. You can give that one a break. I know you where trying to be cute and funny. But you are actually just ignorant.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor hear he was in Knoxville!
Bones never lie.
*wink(we are supposed to spread this like its true)

Witchy, just after you chastised Rucker, et al, for inventing stuff on Da'Rick, you throw this out? For shame.

Just for argument's sake, ya know, theoretical like, is this good or bad?

CoverOrange writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

Your premise is wrong. Hammy was a total idiot way over his head and responsible for the downfall of the athletic department into mediocre U. That is not debatable. But the "Industry" dictates buyouts and Tenn is in that "industry" and not above it. No coach wants to wear Orange SOOOOO BAD that he will forgo the buyout clause that he would get at any other similar sized school. You can give that one a break. I know you where trying to be cute and funny. But you are actually just ignorant.

Not in the swimming dept.

Virgil_Tutwiler writes:

If this involves defalcation (as rumored) at a state institute, I do not understand why the local police are investigating and not the state authorities.

Anyway, I'm sure it will be clear soon enough.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Witchy, just after you chastised Rucker, et al, for inventing stuff on Da'Rick, you throw this out? For shame.

Just for argument's sake, ya know, theoretical like, is this good or bad?

Witch Doctor say big difference is Witch Doctor tell you up front its BS! lol. Witch Doctor say Rucker still claiming Rogers kinda off the team.
lol
Bones never lie.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to Timbo_Slice:

These rumor mills about hiring new coaches have become an annual event lately!

Witch Doctor say welcome to "making Mountains out of Molehills" the KNS 2012 Football preview! lol
Bones never lie.

troubleinc writes:

in response to Grantlands_Red_Beans_and_Rice:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Lame. Especially since you've rehashed it on every column KNS posts on the JT situation.

splash writes:

in response to runnervu:

Have know the Coach for many years, would be very surprised to find out he had gone astray.
Reserve judgment till all evidence is out.
My family will still support JT

I'm with you. Have known him for years.

NO_DIGGITY writes:

in response to Grantlands_Red_Beans_and_Rice:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Come on Jeff, even Henny Youngman had more than one Joke.

voloffaith writes:

in response to NO_DIGGITY:

Come on Jeff, even Henny Youngman had more than one Joke.

And Henny was funny even with the violin....G_R_B_R sounds out.....gerber....follow to natural conclusion if you will...

On topic,sad that one who had so much invested here let a lie to himself(best as we all speculate) taint his thought process to coming to this.

rockypop writes:

How many more stories is the KNS going to write about this which all say they can't say anything?

8ball writes:

in response to Grantlands_Red_Beans_and_Rice:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Got that from a 6 year old, try one a little older..

CrankE writes:

in response to rockypop:

How many more stories is the KNS going to write about this which all say they can't say anything?

The over/under on rehash of the same story line is about 3.7 posts per original story.

Got to rewrite the headline just enough to draw interest. Then add a couple of new sentences in the article-you know, spray paint the roadkill.

GONAVY writes:

He's hired "pro bono Bosch" who was a UT swimmer himself in the 80's and has represented multiple UT athletes who've run afoul of the law. Bosch is wired into the DA's office and used to sit on the Athletics Board. He's also an adjunct professor at the lawschool. He's been able to get several athletes off the hook with reduced charges. I was told he represents athletes "pro bono". Don't know what/if he'll charge his swimming client.

billyrayvol writes:

Well at least this isn't a Sandusky type incident. Coach Trembley was a vol for life, so will be interested to see what evidence they have against him.

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to rockypop:

How many more stories is the KNS going to write about this which all say they can't say anything?

On this story, KNS reminds me of a Colonel Blake line from M*A*S*H -- "All I have to add is there is nothing to add."

Theo writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor hear he was in Knoxville!
Bones never lie.
*wink(we are supposed to spread this like its true)

Interesting rumor. I heard the receivers coach at East Literature Magnet was seen being shown the field at Neyland Stadium.

volfanlostnbama writes:

just posted on football scoop--Tennessee: Multiple sources telling us that Randy Shannon has agreed to become defensive coordinator at Tennessee. Tennessee has not confirmed.

Vol43 writes:

in response to volfanlostnbama:

just posted on football scoop--Tennessee: Multiple sources telling us that Randy Shannon has agreed to become defensive coordinator at Tennessee. Tennessee has not confirmed.

Probably a good thing it isn't Kevin Steele. Man, did he get rungup the other night!

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