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Fader files suit against UW-Whitewater

Two years after not having his contract renewed, former University of Wisconsin-Whitewater head wrestling coach Tim Fader has filed a federal lawsuit against school's former chancellor and its current athletics director for his treatment after he reported a sexual assault allegation to community police instead of to campus officials, according to multiple media reports this week.

Tim Fader
In a complaint filed last week, Fader, now the head wrestling coach at UW-Eau Claire, accused former Chancellor Richard Telfer and athletic director Amy Edmonds of retaliating against him because his report to police made it harder to "cover up" the 2014 sexual assault report.

Fader's lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin seeks unspecified damages from Telfer, who retired in 2015, and Edmonds for "retaliating against [Fader] for his exercise of constitutionally-protected speech, for unlawfully constructively terminating him from his position, and for engaging in defamatory conduct against him."

The lawsuit asserts that Fader was not renewed as the school's wrestling coach in the summer of 2014 because he immediately reported an alleged sexual assault committed by one of his recruits over Easter weekend of that year directly to Whitewater city police and not to his supervisors on campus, per university policy. (Fader provided a detailed account of the situation in an exclusive interview with InterMat in November 2014.)

Fader also alleges that both Telfer and Edmonds engaged in defamatory conduct.

While Fader was still on staff, Telfer released a letter to the UW-Whitewater community stating that the wrestling program was under investigation -- and that Fader was on administrative suspension for potentially violating university policy -- without providing any specifics. The suit claims "the Telfer letter has caused significant damage to Fader's career."

The lawsuit goes on to say that numerous colleges approached Fader about serving as a coach but did not follow up after contacting UW-Whitewater administrators. The suit provides a specific example of an unnamed Minnesota school contacting Edmonds to find out what happened, with Edmonds reportedly telling an official of that school that she wished she could tell him the whole story, but could not. That, according to the suit, "created even more mystery and implied additional but unreported misconduct on Fader's part."

The suit says that UW-Whitewater changed course in September 2015, when it provided a positive reference regarding Fader to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he is now about to start his second season as head coach.

Just weeks prior to the situation at UW-Whitewater unfolding, Fader had been named 2014 Division III Coach of the Year and d3wrestle.com Coach of the Year. In his dozen years at UWW, Fader had coached 42 All-Americans and 49 Scholastic All-Americans, and led the Warhawks to four top 12 finishes including a third place finish in 2013 in addition to a runner-up finish at the 2014 NCAAs.

The lawsuit also states that immediately prior to Fader's non-renewal at UW-Whitewater, he and school officials had been discussing a pay increase that "would have put him among the highest-paid coaches in Division III wrestling, in the $65-$70 thousand range, with camps included."

When the Wisconsin State Journal contacted UW-Whitewater spokeswoman Sara Kuhl concerning Tim Fader's lawsuit, she told the Madison, Wisconsin newspaper that the university "does not comment on pending litigation."

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