MOREHEAD, Ky. — After WCPO first reported that volunteer bowling "coach emeritus" Larry Wilson at Morehead State University sent a racist chain email to a prospective student athlete in Cincinnati, the university announced it will not allow the coach to volunteer with the team in the future.
The volunteer coach's name will also be removed from the bowling alley with a formal recommendation to the school's Board of Regents, MSU President Jay Morgan said in a message to students and staff.
The teen's family said they sent complaints about the coach, who forwarded the student an email deriding the Black community, to the university on June 16. But their complaints went unanswered until WCPO inquired about the incident Monday.
"First, and most importantly, we are sincerely apologetic to this student and her family for the inappropriate email that she received from the volunteer and we have contacted the student," Morgan wrote. "The context of the email she received is in direct opposition to the core values of our University and we take seriously all reports of actions contrary to those values."
Morgan said the complaints had been sent to an inbox "monitored periodically," which will now be monitored daily.
The school will also set up a university-monitored website for the bowling team, which will not include the volunteer's name.
The coach is known for leading the women’s bowling team to multiple national championship wins, but officials said Monday he’s been asked to stop volunteering with the team. On Tuesday, the coach had been informed "verbally and in writing" that he must cease any activity with the team.
"Morehead State University condemns racism, injustice, and violence and strives to maintain a campus atmosphere where all students and employees are free from such," Morgan wrote.
Read Morgan's full message to campus below:
"Dear University Community:
On Monday, June 22, at approximately noon, the University received an inquiry from a Cincinnati news outlet regarding an email that a prospective student received from a volunteer with our bowling team. The reporter shared that the student found the email to be racially insensitive and wanted to know what disciplinary steps the University planned to take against the volunteer.
First, and most importantly, we are sincerely apologetic to this student and her family for the inappropriate email that she received from the volunteer and we have contacted the student. The context of the email she received is in direct opposition to the core values of our University and we take seriously all reports of actions contrary to those values. Additionally, the student and her mother expressed concern regarding non-response to their emails to the University alerting us to this incident. The accounts that were emailed are unfortunately general accounts, monitored periodically, and due to vacation schedules there was a lag in response last week. We have changed our process and these general accounts will now be monitored daily.
As a response to this incident, we have taken the following immediate steps:
- The volunteer has been informed verbally and in writing that he must immediately cease volunteer involvement with the bowling team.
- The Vice President of Student Affairs notified the bowling team coach and members of this directive.
- The University bowling team has been directed to remove a third party hosted website that the team used and to create a new University-monitored website where the volunteer’s name has been removed.
- I, as University President, will work with our staff to remove this volunteer’s name from the bowling alley and will make a formal recommendation to our Board of Regents.
We want to ensure our incoming students, existing students, faculty and staff, particularly those who represent diverse and racially minoritized communities, that we care about you. Morehead State University condemns racism, injustice, and violence and strives to maintain a campus atmosphere where all students and employees are free from such. As an institution of higher learning engaged in preparing the next generation of leaders, MSU has an obligation to model inclusivity and embrace diversity.
On behalf of MSU, we apologize for this unfortunate incident.
Morehead State University