A number of former Florida basketball players are speaking out about abuse they said they’ve suffered under former coach Cam Newbauer.
Five former players spoke out this week, first to Florida’s student newspaper The Independent Florida Alligator, and again to ESPN’s Outside the Lines. They’ve alleged that Newbauer created a toxic and abusive culture within the program. He allegedly threw basketballs at players — including once at a player who was recovering from a torn ACL — made racially insensitive comments and “routinely reduced players to tears during profanity-laced tirades."
“He would make them cry,” graduate transfer Cydnee Kinslow told the student newspaper. “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.”
Players allege abuse under Newbauer
According to the reports, Newbauer would frequently refer to his players as “b****es," and make racially insensitive comments about his Black players’ hair and tattoos. Once, former guard Sydney Searcy said, Newbauer forced three Black players to throw away their clothing because he was “displeased with their appearance,” according to ESPN.
“He didn’t like that they wore baggier or men’s clothing, as if they dressed like thugs,” Searcy, who is Black, told ESPN. “He had them go into the locker room and throw their clothes away … As a Black woman I saw the pain and fear in their eyes.”
Another former player, Mikayla Hayes, said that Newbauer was also very insensitive to players on the team who were part of the LGBTQ community. Kinslow, who is part of that community and played under Newbauer last season, told ESPN that Newbauer once called her into his office and questioned whether her and another teammate were in a relationship.
"It was very difficult to play behind someone that we felt was very sexist and homophobic, racist, all those kinds of things," Kinslow said, via ESPN. "The way he treated women was outrageous. He just had some sort of complex to where women were inferior to him and it was hard, especially being a women's basketball team."
Haley Lorenzen, who played at Florida and was a senior on Newbauer’s first Gators team, said he kicked off three freshman at the end of that season “because they weren’t his recruits.”
“I remember them going to the locker room with garbage bags to take their stuff out,” she told the student newspaper. “No one was there to help them … It was so disgusting to see that and to see human beings being treated that way.”
It was Newbauer, Lorenzen said, that made her lose her love of the game.
"I had the opportunity to play professional basketball. I had an agent lined up. I even went to the WNBA combine and I got there and I just didn't even want to be there," Lorenzen said, via ESPN.
Newbauer resigns due to ‘personal reasons’
Newbauer resigned from his post at the school in July for personal reasons after four seasons with the Gators despite having just received a three-year contract extension. He compiled a 46-71 record over his time there, and reached the WNIT once. Newbauer landed at Florida after a four-year stint at Belmont, where he reached the NCAA tournament twice.
The school said in a statement this week that it knew of concerns from players and their parents.
"There were concerns brought to our attention. Each time, additional information was sought, and these concerns were addressed directly with Cam as we required corrective actions and outlined clear expectations of behavior moving forward," the school said in a statement on Monday, via ESPN. "Ultimately, we did not see the required improvements, and following discussions with Coach Newbauer he made the decision to resign."
Newbauer’s sudden departure, however, didn’t make former player Sydney Morang’s mother, Lynn, feel any better.
"We came to the conclusion that it was another example of an institution protecting itself over the people it was supposed to protect, in this case young women," Lynn said, via ESPN.