Former basketball players on the University of Florida women’s team raised allegations of physical and psychological abuse against ex-Gators coach Cameron Newbauer, previously of Belmont University.
Newbauer spearheaded women’s basketball for the Bruins from 2013-2017 before his recruitment by UF. He was replaced at Belmont by current women’s head coach Bart Brooks.
In a disturbing and detailed report in The Independent Florida Alligator, former Gators recounted their experiences under Newbauer, saying the hot-tempered coach hurled basketballs at players’ heads, belittled them in drills and practices, made discriminatory remarks toward Black women on the team and regularly reduced players and assistants to tears in explosive rants.
“It was so toxic and unsafe,” said former UF shooting guard Sydney Morang in an interview with The Alligator; she was a sophomore when Newbauer was hired by Florida in March 2017.
“Everyone was so scared that no one wanted to speak up,” she said.
Cydnee Kinslow, a graduate forward on Newbauer’s 2020-2021 squad, also spoke of a distressing experience.
“He would make them cry,” Kinslow told The Alligator. “Push until they cried, whatever it was, like, he tried. There’s a breaking point for people and pushing them through a wall to make them stronger. And then there’s what Cameron Newbauer did.”
The Vision reached out to former Bruins who played under Newbauer between 2013 and 2017. As of Monday evening, no Belmont athlete has come forward with allegations against the former coach.
During his five seasons with the Bruins, no players or staff filed formal complaints against Newbauer, said Belmont’s Office of Communications, though the university was aware of his unconventional approach to the game.
“There were informal concerns raised by players and employees regarding what was reported at times to be a challenging and demanding coaching style,” said Belmont’s Office of Communications in a statement.
“Internal conversations were held with the coach, and administrators offered feedback and mentoring to improve his communication approach. Further disciplinary action was not deemed necessary based on the reports at that time.”
Proceedings within the Florida athletics department seem to tell a comparable story.
Reports of verbal abuse by Newbauer began circulating within his first 18 months at UF, and senior department faculty were assigned to oversee Newbauer’s program, said Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin in a Tuesday press conference.
No further incidents were reported, said Stricklin, and, believing his behavior had improved, Florida extended Newbauer’s contract by three years — despite the coach’s poor 46-71 record over four seasons.
Six weeks later on July 16, Newbauer resigned from his coaching position, citing personal reasons for the departure. He has not responded to the allegations against him.
Stricklin said he took responsibility for allowing Newbauer to remain with the Gators as long as he did.
“We failed in this situation,” Stricklin told reporters.
Had Stricklin been aware of what was going on, “I never would have done the contract extension,” he said. “I thought things were moving in a certain direction. Obviously we weren’t. We didn’t pick up signs and clues.”
Further coverage of UF players’ allegations against Newbauer can be found on ESPN.
PHOTO: Newbauer at a 2013 Bruins home game in the Curb Event Center. Courtney Martinez / Belmont Vision
This article was written by Anna Jackson. Contributory writing by Sarah Maninger.