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Vermont men’s hockey coach fired after probe into communications with student

The University of Vermont fired men’s hockey coach Todd Woodcroft on Tuesday after an investigation into “inappropriate” communications with a student at the school. The conduct being investigated involved “inappropriate text messages with a UVM student on multiple occasions that failed to maintain professional boundaries,” according to UVM athletics director Jeff Schulman.

“The University of Vermont Athletic Department has high expectations for the conduct of our coaches and all involved with our department,” Schulman said in a statement. “After reviewing the findings of an investigation conducted by UVM’s Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity that was completed this week, it is clear that Coach Woodcroft failed to meet those expectations.”

It is not immediately clear when the investigation concluded. The Athletic asked Woodcroft on July 7 whether he was under investigation.

“No, that is not accurate,” he replied.

The Athletic emailed UVM on the same day asking whether Woodcroft was placed on leave. On July 10, in response to that email, a UVM spokesperson declined to comment, citing “standing practice to not comment on personnel matters.”

Later Tuesday, Woodcroft’s attorney, Andrew Miltenberg, released a statement.

“We vehemently disagree with the process and the findings of a proceeding that lacked fundamental fairness and due process,” Miltenberg told The Athletic. “We strongly believe the University’s decision was contrary to the facts and the law. We intend to pursue justice for Mr. Woodcroft, who has been an outstanding coach and community advocate for over two decades.”

Woodcroft became the coach of Vermont on April 15, 2020. Prior to Vermont, Woodcroft was an assistant coach for four seasons with the Winnipeg Jets. He also spent three seasons as a scouting director and professional scout with the Calgary Flames.

Steve Wiedler will be Vermont’s interim coach for the 2023-24 season.

“The team and I have tremendous confidence in Coach Wiedler’s ability to successfully lead our program,” Schulman said. “He has played a major role in the recruitment and development of our current players and will step into this important role with the full support of our team and his Athletic Department colleagues.”

(Photo: Charles Krupa / AP)

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