Live Updates: Kathy Taylor to Step Down Following Reports of Bullying, Mistreatment

Taylor to Step Down as Head Coach of Women’s Lacrosse Team

4:21 PM   |   May 23, 2024

Kathy Taylor announced on May 22 that she will step down from her role as head coach of the Colgate University women’s lacrosse team. Taylor has held the position since 2019.

“Although I currently have two years remaining on my contract, I feel now is the time for a change in the leadership of the women’s lacrosse program,” Taylor said in a statement published by Colgate Athletics.

Taylor’s decision follows allegations from former players that the coach engaged in bullying and extreme coaching tactics, as previously reported by The Colgate Maroon-News

Katherine Sweeney, assistant women’s lacrosse coach, will manage Taylor’s responsibilities while a national search begins for a new head coach.

Community Reacts to Second Major Report on Mental Health Within Colgate University Women’s Lacrosse Program

April 12, 2024

*Editorial content warning: This story contains mentions of self-harm and attempted suicide.

In an article published by Lohud, a part of the USA Today Network, on March 7, senior Catie Lang, a former member of the Colgate University women’s lacrosse team, detailed her experience of a severe mental health crisis that hit its peak during her sophomore year at Colgate.

Lang’s story marks the second time in a two-year period that the experiences of former Colgate women’s lacrosse players have been reported on by non-local publications. In a March 2023 report by the Democrat & Chronicle (D&C), former athletes and alumnae of the women’s lacrosse program brought forth allegations of extreme coaching tactics, including “bullying” and “abuse,” by Head Coach Kathy Taylor, as reported by the Maroon-News.

The 2023 D&C report followed an independent investigation by Colgate University into Taylor’s coaching throughout the summer of 2022. The investigation was conducted in response to a request from a New York-based law firm that contacted University officials in March 2022 on behalf of players and their families. Following the investigation, it was announced that Taylor would remain in her position.

While Lang remained on the team throughout the 2022-23 season, she eventually left the program in August 2023.

Lang opened up to Lohud about “clashes with leadership” during her time on the team, including instances of inappropriate comments about weight and handling of struggles with both mental health and physical injury.

One month after the story’s release, The Colgate Maroon-News sat down with Catie Lang to discuss what led Lang to tell her story as well as how her Colgate experience has changed following her departure from the team.

Read the full story here.

Taylor Responds to Allegations of Abusive Coaching Tactics via Public Instagram

2:26 PM   |   March 30, 2023

In a post to the Instagram account @kathyttaylor labeled ‘Kathy Taylor Sets the Record Straight’ followed by both the Colgate University-run Women’s and Men’s Lacrosse accounts, Taylor issued a statement on March 16:

“It has been my honor to coach lacrosse at all levels — high school, Division III, Division II, and Division I. I set high expectations for both myself and my teams. Empowering young women through sport has been a passion of mine for the past 30+ years. Every team’s journey is different, and we work together toward a collective goal.

“Recently, my leadership has been publicly and privately scrutinized. All allegations have been investigated and cleared by Colgate University. Unfortunately, social media has provided a platform to continue the false commentary, and I find myself having to defend the following:

  • “As a head coach, I routinely make roster decisions based on evaluation of the athletes, their performance, and my experience of what is needed to win. This is true for all sports teams.
  • “As a former Division I athlete and mother of three Division I athletes, I understand the pain of injury and care about all those competing. We are fortunate to have a strong Sports Medicine staff that determines if an athlete is cleared to play. They make the call, and I always respect the guidance.
  • “Finally, and unequivocally. I have never ‘body shamed’ any athlete, or any human. We utilize resources, such as nutritionists and psychologists to support the health and wellbeing of our athletes.

“It is challenging to make every athlete or parent happy, but I have always treated them with respect, care and professionalism. I genuinely love coaching — and each staff member and every team that I have had the honor to work with as we compete together.”

University Issues Statement in Response to Recent Reports of Misconduct by Women’s Lacrosse Coach

5:32 PM   |   March 21, 2023

In posts to the Colgate University women’s lacrosse social media accounts Tuesday afternoon, Colgate Athletics made the following statement:

“The University is aware of recently published reports about last year’s review of the women’s lacrosse program. Since the conclusion of the review, the University has not received any similar reports or concerns from current student-athletes about Coach Kathy Taylor or any other member of the coaching staff. Colgate is committed to supporting a healthy and positive experience for all our student-athletes and Coach Taylor has demonstrated her commitment to this by implementing measures identified by the University to improve the overall strength of the program. We look forward to our women’s lacrosse student-athletes excelling under Coach Taylor, Coach Becker, and Coach Sweeney.”

Report Alleges Bullying, Mistreatment by Colgate University Women’s Lacrosse Coach

12:06 PM   |   March 20, 2023

Kathy Taylor, head coach of the Colgate University women’s lacrosse team, is under scrutiny amidst allegations of extreme coaching tactics that some players claim have left them physically, emotionally and mentally scarred.

In a story published by Rochester news outlet Democrat & Chronicle on Wednesday, former athletes and alumnae of the program said Taylor bullied players, criticized their weight, disregarded their mental health, and pressured them to play through injuries, causing some to medically retire.

The Democrat & Chronicle article stated that, under Taylor’s tenure, twenty players have quit the team prior to their graduation. Seven have quit since the start of the 2022-2023 academic year.

Players alleged “bullying” and “abuse” from Taylor, claiming that the head coach has made repeated comments about players’ weights and eating habits. They allege that Taylor made comments about eating too much or too little, and one former player told the D&C that Taylor referred to a teammate as a “refrigerator on wheels.”

They also described a culture of pressure to play through injuries and mental health challenges, causing further stress to players’ bodies and minds. Some players said they suffered irreversible physical damage.

Senior Grace Bowers, who left the team in the fall of 2022, told the D&C that Taylor “treats injured people like nothing.”

Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel LLP, a New York-based law firm that specializes in civil rights matters, sent Colgate University officials a ten-page letter in March 2022 on behalf of players and their families that stated that “Coach Taylor is engaged in a pattern of abuse and mistreatment of players.”

The letter was addressed to University President Brian W. Casey.

In the letter, attorneys requested that the University “conduct an immediate expedited, and independent investigation of Coach Taylor’s coaching tactics, with its findings made public, to evaluate whether it is in the best interests of the student-athletes, the women’s lacrosse team and the institution as a whole for Coach Taylor to remain in her position.”

It continued: “As an interim measure, we ask that Coach Taylor be suspended from her role as Head Coach pending the outcome of the investigation.”

Following the receipt of the letter, the University hired a law firm that focuses on women’s athletics to investigate the claims of abuse brought forth in the letter. The firm investigated throughout the summer of 2022 and produced a report that was shared with University officials. Players told the Democrat & Chronicle that they never saw the report, and it is not available to the public.

Our team was so miserable. There’s no way that you can look at this report on how poorly this woman is treating these girls and not do something about it. But that didn’t happen.

— Grace Bowers

On Aug. 10, 2022, then-Colgate University Vice President and Director of Athletics Nicki Moore sent an email to returning players. The email responded to the claims, mentioned the University’s investigation and described the University’s plan to address concerns. Moore wrote that Taylor would remain in her position as head coach. (Moore has since departed Colgate University to become athletics director at Cornell University.)

“I have decided we will continue our path forward in close partnership with Coach Taylor as the head coach of this program,” Moore wrote in the letter. “However, it is clear to all of us, including Coach Taylor, that additional adjustments are necessary to improve and elevate the program.”

The “adjustments” included the promotion of Assistant Coach Jessica Becker to associate head coach, the assignment of a sports administrator for the team and the assignment of a new faculty liaison. Moore also wrote that Jason Meyers, associate professor of biology and neuroscience, would advise on the plan’s execution.

Moore’s email also stated that “Colgate Athletics will adjust its policies temporarily to ensure that those who choose not to return to the program, will retain their athletics scholarship,” a break from standard University policy as outlined in the 2022-2023 Colgate Student-Athlete Handbook.

“Our team was so miserable,” Bowers told the D&C. “There’s no way that you can look at this […] report on how poorly this woman is treating these girls and not do something about it. But that didn’t happen.”

Taylor joined the Colgate women’s lacrosse team in 2019 after a five-season stint at Division II Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY where she led the team to a national championship in 2018. Before that, she spent six years coaching at Division III SUNY Cortland and 18 years at Fayetteville-Manlius High School. She graduated from Cornell University in 1984 where she played lacrosse.

Taylor served as the president of the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Association from 2017 to 2020.

Taylor declined the D&C’s repeated requests for comment for their article. Colgate University issued a statement to the D&C in January 2023:

“We identified specific actions to improve the women’s lacrosse student-athlete experience and address concerns from student-athletes and parents regarding leadership approach and player development, and have been implementing these measures with the full commitment, involvement and support of Coach Taylor and the Athletics Department leadership and staff,” the statement read.

The women’s lacrosse team’s 2023 season began in February, and Taylor has remained head coach. The team holds a 1-6 record following a loss to Boston University in the opening game of the Patriot League season on Mar. 18.


This is a developing story.