The Chronicle’s View: Golf coach resignation understandable, unfortunate

Following allegations by members of the U’s golf team that he behaved in a fashion that endangered their safety, head golf coach, Wayne Fisher, resigned from his position of nine years last week.

The allegations originated in a written letter composed by five members of the golf team, in which the state that Fisher endangered their safety and did not realize “the gravity of his actions or the importance of his responsibility as a coach, guardian and role model” when he consumed alcohol and transported students.

While the claims that Fisher was too inebriated to operate a motor vehicle have not been substantiated in any way, the coach has admitted to consuming two alcoholic beverages prior to driving.

Fisher maintains that he was not, however, incapable of driving and that he in no way endangered any of the members of his team.

This is a complex and unfortunate situation with further-reaching impacts than may initially be obvious.

First of all, the golf team members are justified in bringing their complaints before officials-assuming that their feelings of discomfort are true. It is implicit that, on any coach-led team, an atmosphere of safety and security be the only option. It is the coach’s responsibility to make this a reality. If at any time team members do not feel at home on their team, something is wrong.

In that sense, Fisher’s decision to imbibe any alcohol at all-regardless of whether or not he was genuinely endangering the members of his team-prior to transporting the students was unwise. As the coach and leader of the team, he ought to have known that such behavior would seem inappropriate to at least some members of his team, and he therefore should not have done it.

The biggest issue here is not that alcohol was involved in the alleged incident-because it is unclear whether or not the alcohol impaired Fisher’s ability to drive a motor vehicle at all-but rather that, for whatever reason, members of his team felt unsafe in his presence.

With it being said that Fisher’s decision to drink and drive was a poor one, it is very unfortunate that this situation has taken on the life it has in both media and public forums.

It is a common mistake for people to hear the words ‘alcohol’ and ‘danger’ in the same sentence and automatically assume that the implied individual is a drunk. This is not the case. Moderate alcohol consumption is not a problem in and of itself.

The fact that this story has already damaged Fisher’s personal and professional reputation is saddening. People ought not to jump to brash character conclusions until all the evidence is presented.