Concerns about ex-coach Clint Myers, son also raised at ASU
Former Auburn head softball coach Clint Myers, who left the program in August amid allegations his son and assistant coach Corey Myers engaged in inappropriate behavior with players, was reprimanded in his previous job as head coach at Arizona State University for issues involving Corey as well, records released Friday to ESPN's Outside the Lines show.
In January 2011, then-ASU athletic director Lisa Love sent Clint Myers a letter noting that Corey was "not to come onto the field or into the facility areas that are open only to coaching staff, student athletes and authorized ASU Athletics staff without the prior written permission of the sport supervisor ... Corey may not serve in any paid or unpaid capacity in any role with the women's softball program."
The concerns involving Corey at Arizona State in the letter did not pertain to any inappropriate behavior or relationships with players; rather, they were related to Corey working as a volunteer coach without permission, using Corey's graphic design company for team materials, and allowing Corey's skills academy to use university facilities.
The records, along with interviews with some of Clint Myers' former supervisors and colleagues, show a head coach who actively sought to include and advance his son within the team. Auburn players have said their former head coach's actions created a similar culture there, one that enabled and shielded Corey while also intimidating players who complained about his alleged inappropriate behavior.
"He thought Corey was the best strength coach. The best assistant coach," one former ASU colleague said of Clint Myers. "He had a very high opinion of Corey, which caused a lot of angst with people on his staff because he valued Corey's opinion above anybody else's."
Multiple former ASU officials told Outside the Lines the main reason for Clint Myers' departure was that Arizona State officials would not allow him to hire Corey as an assistant coach. After Auburn hired him, Clint Myers thanked the university for the "opportunity to coach with my family."
It's unclear how much Auburn officials knew about the alleged issues at Arizona State before hiring Clint Myers in 2013. Corey Myers was hired as an assistant coach in 2013 and promoted to associate head coach in 2016.
Clint Myers was hired under ASU's Love and departed under her successor, Steve Patterson, and both Love and Patterson told Outside the Lines that no one from Auburn contacted them to discuss Myers or his son ahead of hiring him.
On Friday, though, Auburn athletic department spokeswoman Cassie Arner said officials with Auburn did speak to Arizona State compliance and administrative staffers, as well as representatives from the NCAA, before hiring the Myerses.
"Auburn University spoke to multiple people at Arizona State to discuss the hire," she said.
Last fall, Auburn conducted an internal investigation after players filed anonymous ethics complaints with the athletic department regarding Corey's behavior. Corey stepped away from the program for a couple of weeks. Then, in the spring, some players confronted head coach Clint Myers with phone screenshots of what they described as text messages proving that Corey was engaged in an inappropriate relationship with one of their teammates. Corey resigned on March 30.
On May 31, a former player, Alexa Nameth, filed a Title IX complaint with the university alleging that "Coach Clint Myers knowingly let his son Corey Myers have relations and pursue relations with multiple members of the team." An attorney for Nemeth sent a letter to the school and the Alabama governor in July claiming the program was "toxic" and "lacked any kind of institutional control." The school has hired the Birmingham, Alabama, law firm of Lightfoot, Franklin & White to investigate the program. The review is ongoing.
On Aug. 17, 2017, Outside the Lines requested records from Auburn regarding any investigations or disciplinary action against Corey Myers. Outside the Lines has inquired about the records requests about a dozen times but has yet to receive any records. Alabama state law does not include a deadline by which state agencies must respond to records requests.
Messages left with Clint Myers were not immediately returned Friday, and Corey Myers declined to comment when reached by Outside the Lines. Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs referred questions to a university spokeswoman.
Former Arizona State athletic department employees who worked with Myers and his two sons, Corey and Casey -- who also worked as a volunteer coach -- described a head coach who chafed under myriad NCAA rules, butted heads with colleagues and was a fierce promoter and protector of his sons. One of the former ASU employees, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity, said that Clint Myers was "one of the most challenging coaches I've worked with."
One of the former Arizona State administrators as well as a former member of the support staff said that there was no indication or reports from players during Myers' tenure in Tempe that Corey Myers had engaged in any type of inappropriate behavior. Interactions the ASU staffers said they had witnessed had been cordial and not concerning.
Corey Myers was never officially employed by Arizona State. According to the records provided to Outside the Lines, he acted as a designated volunteer coach -- temporarily replacing his brother Casey -- during the postseason starting in May 10, 2007, and on May 26, 2008, during which Arizona State won the Women's College World Series. On Jan. 13, 2011, the university self-reported an NCAA violation when it was discovered that Corey had "provided instruction on conditioning activities to student-athletes" during the fall 2009 semester, when he was not a designated volunteer.
At one point, Corey Myers allowed one of the players to temporarily live with his family at their house, an arrangement that a former ASU administrator described as "not a good practice." That issue was addressed in the letter Love sent to Clint Myers, which stated that without prior approval, no active student athlete might live in any property owned by an ASU athletics employee or family member or be employed by them.
The letter also referenced the school's conflict of interest policy in demanding that Clint Myers not use the services of his son's graphic design company, GraphX LLC, in which the head coach had an ownership interest. The company had been creating materials for the team. The letter also instructed Clint Myers to refrain from "participating in any manner" with Corey's CM Baseball & Softball Academy, including allowing usage of university facilities.
Annie Voyles, who worked as director of operations during the 2012 season, said that shortly after she started, she and other staff members met with a school attorney to discuss rules regarding Corey Myers.
"She broke down for us appropriate, inappropriate places for him to be. What his rules would be moving forward," she said. "He couldn't be in any area the public wasn't allowed in."
Concerns about Corey Myers came up at a time when the ASU athletic department was particularly sensitive to running afoul of the NCAA. In December 2010, it had been slapped with penalties over major infractions incurred by the Arizona State baseball program. Also at the time, according to an NCAA report, Arizona State had the highest number of major infraction cases of any other institution. Investigators found issues relating to improper recruiting of baseball players and paying student athletes for work not performed, and noted there was "a cavalier attitude on the part of the former head baseball coach to NCAA regulations."
There were similar concerns, one former ASU official told Outside the Lines, about the attitude of Clint Myers, who had come to Arizona State after several years as a successful junior college coach accustomed to an environment in which he had autonomy. The transition to a Division I institution governed by Pac-12 and NCAA rules led to clashes with his supervisors, assistant coaches and other staff, according to former ASU colleagues. According to the records provided to Outside the Lines, during Myers' tenure, the program reported three other violations to the NCAA: one for abuse of practice time limits, another for improper use of student managers, and one for providing free tickets to a community college team attending a tournament. The university also received an anonymous complaint, and an inquiry from the NCAA, regarding allegations of 14 violations involving the softball program, but a university investigation into those allegations, outlined in an October 2012 letter to the NCAA, "did not reveal any violations of NCAA legislation or other regulations."
In an email to Outside the Lines, former Arizona State athletic director Love wrote, "Active administrative oversight throughout his tenure may have contributed to [Clint Myers'] decision to be employed elsewhere."
One former ASU administrator said she was angry when she heard about the Auburn allegations.
"How disrespectful was that to his student athletes on the team? He's insensitive, blind and oblivious to Corey. He really thinks that Corey is the best," the former administrator said. "It's very dangerous when you have no checks and balances. None of those assistant coaches are going to speak up because they're all hired by the head coach, and family comes first.
"Who was the advocate for the student athletes? Who was making sure they were OK? I don't care if that is your son. I don't care if that is your flesh and blood. You have a responsibility to these young women."