The head coach of Ohio State University's women's hockey team resigned on Monday after the university cited inappropriate and unprofessional conduct that included allegations of sexual harassment, intimidation and retaliation.
After finishing his fourth season behind the Buckeyes' bench, 37-year-old coach Nate Handrahan tendered his resignation in the wake of the school's findings. The university's review of his behavior – presented Monday to Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith – concluded Handrahan “engaged in a pattern of verbal conduct of a sexual nature that unreasonably interfered with the athletic experience of many students” on the women’s team. It also claimed to have sufficient evidence the university’s policies on sexual harassment, inappropriate conduct and retaliation were violated by the Niagara Falls, Ont., native, and that he made sexually explicit comments to many members of the team.
Ohio State began investigating Handrahan after an incident at an airport in North Dakota in which witnesses said Handrahan and assistant coach Carson Duggan missed the team's bus to the airport prior to the flight home to Columbus and arrived acting unprofessionally and smelling of alcohol. During the investigation, witnesses claimed Handrahan made sexual comments or insinuations about female players and their personal relationships, and that he routinely used sexually explicit or vulgar language during practices and in games – including telling his players to “get horny for the puck” during practice.
Handrahan, Duggan and fellow assistant Keith Maurice met with OSU investigators Jan. 20; Handrahan denied charges of inappropriate or sexual comments and defended his coaching style as “demanding, but not demeaning.”
Handrahan joined Ohio State in 2011 after serving five years as head coach of the Robert Morris women's hockey program.