Jenny Moshak is leaving the athletic trainer’s room at the University of Tennessee, but not without having a final say.
The associate director of sports medicine at UT, who’s a co-plaintiff in a lawsuit against UT, issued a statement Friday through her lawyer, Keith D. Stewart, saying that she took an early retirement over issues related to the suit.
“Due to the overall atmosphere since I raised issues of equality at the University of Tennessee and given the university’s unwillingness to address the issues of discrimination and retaliation, I cannot continue my association with the university’s athletic department,” Moshak said in the statement.
Moshak, who worked at UT for 24 years, said in the statement that her retirement began on Thursday. She said that she will continue pursuing a career in sports medicine and “continue the fight for equality and justice within athletics.”
Moshak’s salary was $102,500, according to an open records request made by the News Sentinel in July.
Moshak is a co-plaintiff in a U.S. District Court lawsuit against UT alleging discrimination and retaliation filed on Oct. 11, 2012. She had been the lone plaintiff still employed by the university. Associate strength and conditioning coach Heather Mason was relieved of her duties this spring. Collin Schlosser, a former associate director for women’s strength and conditioning, was among 15 UT athletic department employees terminated on April 16, 2012.
Through an open records request by the News Sentinel, it was learned that Stewart sent an email to university assistant general counsel Michael D. Fitzgerald on Aug. 1 with concerns over the UT work environment in the wake of Mason’s firing on April 25. Stewart described the situation as “untenable” and taking “a serious toll” on Moshak’s health and well-being. Before counseling Moshak to continue at UT, he asked the university to consider reopening the director of sports medicine position held by Jason McVeigh.
In a letter to Stewart dated on Tuesday, also obtained by an open records request, Fitzgerald said the only specific event identified by Moshak was Mason’s termination. The letter said the decision “cannot create a hostile work environment for Ms. Moshak.” Also, the athletic department administration was unaware of any harassing or retaliatory behavior toward Moshak.
“If Ms. Moshak believes she has experienced inappropriate workplace harassment or retaliation, then she should file a complaint with the University’s Office of Equity and Diversity,” the letter stated.
UT athletic department spokesperson Jimmy Stanton said Friday the university would not comment on the matter.
Lady Vols basketball coach Holly Warlick said that she spoke this week with Moshak. Warlick said that Moshak informed her of her decision and told Warlick that she planned to do speaking engagements and promote her book “Ice ’N’ Go.”
“It was a shock to me,” Warlick said. “I’m sad for all of us. I think she’s the best trainer in the country. But I’m excited for her because (the speaking is) what she wanted to do.”
Warlick also said, “(Moshak) was not forced out, not to my knowledge.”
Moshak graduated from Western Michigan University in 1985 with a degree in physical education. She earned a master’s degree in exercise physiology from Tennessee. She spent one year on the sports medicine/athletic training staff at Penn State before returning to UT in 1989 as head athletic trainer.
Moshak, who is from Skokie, Ill., has been a certified member of the national athletic trainer’s association since 1986. She’s been a certified strength and conditioning specialist since 1997.
Moshak served for 11 years as an adjunct lecturer for UT’s exercise science department.
“I truly love the Lady Vols,” Moshak said in her statement. “I am honored to be a part of the rich tradition of Lady Vol athletics and even prouder to have supported the physical, mental and emotional development of women in sports and life.”