Coach resigns amid DUI investigation

Wayne Fisher, head golf coach at the U for the past nine years, announced Friday that he would resign amid an ongoing drunk-driving investigation resulting from a team trip in early May.

The investigation began when five U golfers sent a letter to the U’s administrative officials after the team’s final trip of the year to the Mountain West Conference Championships. In the letter, the players alleged that Fisher had been drinking while on the plane flight from Salt Lake City to Portland, Ore. According to the complaint, the problem arose when Fisher proceeded to make the four hour drive from Portland to Eugene, Ore. despite his condition.

According to a recent USA Today report, prior to the announcement of his resignation, Fisher had already signed a document with the school’s administration acknowledging that any future behavior similar to the accusal would be automatic grounds for termination.

“I thought we left this issue behind us a while ago,” Fisher said of the original agreement. “But it kept coming up and something had to be done.”

Fisher still denies that he ever drove drunk or that he ever endangered his players. He expressed remorse that any of his players would be affected negatively in any way because of what happened. The ex-coach holds no animosity toward his former players in regard to the drunk-driving incident, but said that he has trouble determining why his players made the report.

“To this day, I still don’t know why things turned out the way they did,” Fisher said. “I will always feel that I never endangered the student athletes and that I was not drunk at the time of the incident.”

“I have always had the best interests of my athletes in mind,” Fisher added.

Amid rumors that the school’s administration had caved in to public pressure due to the high amount of media coverage, Fisher was adamant that the decision to resign was his alone and not the result of pressure from the school’s administration.

“The decision to resign was solely my own,” Fisher said. “This incident ended up turning into a bigger issue in my private life than it ever should have.”

“This is the easiest way to move on and to protect my family from the situation,” he said.

Luke Swilor, the team’s captain from this last season, said that the outcome of Fisher’s resignation was unavoidable considering the amount of media coverage on the incident.

“When everything first happened, I didn’t know what the athletics department would do,” Swilor said. “But once it hit the media, I knew it wasn’t going to be good.”

Swilor, who graduated this spring, hesitated for a moment when asked about the quality of Fisher’s tenure as a whole, but ultimately concluded that he “did a pretty good job.”

“It’s too bad that it had to end this way,” Swilor said, “but this is probably what needed to happen given the circumstances.”

During Fisher’s tenure, he was responsible for assembling one of the most talented teams in the history of the U. This past season featured nationally ranked players seniors Luke Swilor and Garrett Clegg, while also including last summer’s State Am finalist, senior Carl Jensen.

Anticipated as next year’s top golfer for the U, sophomore Casey Fowles emerged in the last few weeks as one of the best players on the team. In the wake of Fisher’s decision to resign, however, Fowles is planning on transferring to another school.

But Fisher said that Fowles had been planning to transfer all along and that his decision was probably not related to the alleged drunk-driving incident.

“I spoke to Casey before any of this happened and he told me that he was planning on transferring back then,” Fisher said, “so there’s really no way his decision to transfer could have been based on events that transpired after that.”

Sophomore Chace Bickmore and senior Ashdon Woods are the lone Utes returning to the team next season.

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