Ben Johnson became a Canadian hero when he won gold in 1988. The sprinter broke the world record on his way to glory and global fame. However, the world came crashing down around him when he failed drug tests. Suddenly, he was a figure of notoriety.
His coach, Francis, introduced him to steroids for the first time. Francis had a pernicious influence on his athletes and encouraged them to take PEDs. In the end, it cost everybody dearly because the truth emerged. Francis died in 2010 as a disgraced figure (via The Guardian).
Nobody knew who Kris Moutinho was before he stepped up to fight Sean O’Malley at UFC 264. In the end, he suffered a brutal beating at the hands of “Sugar.” His toughness was amazing but arguably he showed too much heart for his good. His coaches failed to protect him and may have harmed his long-term health.
Moutinho absorbed 230 significant strikes against O’Malley while landing just 70 of his won. He came forward like a zombie but O’Malley overmatched him. This was a strange fight to watch because fans saw his brain cells depleting before their eyes (via MMA Junkie).
Karolyi was the coach from Hell. The Hungarian led the U.S. and Romanian gymnastics teams at different points in his career. His heyday was in 1976 and 1980 when he coached the latter team to glory. However, appalling details emerged of how he treated his athletes.
He allegedly starved his athletes, beat them, and denied them medical treatment. Some of the gymnasts even ate toothpaste before they went to bed. Karolyi had strong links to Larry Nasser, the reviled doctor who was convicted of a long and disgusting pattern of sexual abuse. He also coached U.S. star Mary Lou Retton (via Fox News).
Max Holloway is one of the best UFC featherweights in history. He fought Calvin Kattar in 2021 in one of the most one-sided fights ever. Many people thought that Kattar would present Holloway with difficulties. In the end, “Blessed” landed over 400 strikes as he dominated his fellow top featherweight.
After the fight, Kattar’s coaches received a lot of criticism from the media. They failed to stop the fight and protect their fighter. Combat sports athletes rarely give up so it’s up to the coaches to protect them. But Tyson Chartier and his team failed Kattar on that day (via B.J.Penn.com). Thankfully he has rebounded well ever since and picked up a bloody win of his own after taking the better part of a year off.
Doyle began coaching college football in the nineties in strength and conditioning. He worked with the Iowa Hawkeyes before his actions cost him his job. Doyle used racially charged language toward his athletes as he threatened to send them back to the ghetto (via Bleacher Report).
Furthermore, he was critical of how black players styled their hair. Iowa fired him because this was unacceptable in the 21st century. But Urban Meyer thought that he was a perfect fit for the Jaguars. Somehow he made it through vetting but the media picked up on his unsavory track record of alleged racism. He quit after a day on the job.
One of the world’s most famous running coaches, Salazar influenced a bevy of athletes. These included British long-distance superstar Mo Farah and other Olympic stars. But he became embroiled in a major scandal in 2019. It emerged that he encouraged doping in multiple athletes.
Then things became worse when sexual misconduct accusations proved to be true. He received a lifetime ban from the sport because of his horrendous abuses. Salazar also inadvertently tarnished the names of some big stars by association (via Daily Camera).
Sampson coached the England Women’s soccer team for four years. But his tenure ended in disgrace after a disciplinary hearing. A pair of England players accused Sampson of using inappropriate language and racially abusing them. Sampson’s position became untenable.
However, it became messy when he brought a case of unfair dismissal against England. Sampson betrayed his athletes but he somehow earned a settlement from the team. He walked away from women’s soccer and focused on coaching men (via Daily Mail).
Ostapchuk represented Belarus in the 2012 Olympics in London. Initially, she won the gold medal for shot-put but then the IOC stripped her. She failed a pair of drug tests and that was the end of her dream. But the worst part was that her coach played a vile role in this incident (via Sydney Morning Herald).
He dusted her food with anabolic steroids without her knowing. Ostapchuk didn’t know that there was anything wrong but she ingested banned substances. It’s a shameful thing to do because the coach ruined her reputation. He should have protected his athlete but he betrayed her in one of the worst ways possible.
Former UFC women’s strawweight Rose Namajunas fought Carla Esparza at UFC 274 in a strawweight title fight. She lost her belt after one of the most boring defenses in MMA history. This fight was incredibly uneventful as neither fighter produced anything. Namajunas avoided contact as Esparza tried to chase her around the cage (via MMA Fighting).
Her long-term partner Barry attracted a lot of criticism after the fight. He told her she was doing the right thing because the crowd was booing. Meanwhile, he gave her mixed messages that went against head coach Trevor Wittman’s advice. It was unprofessional and cost his girlfriend her title. After the fight, fan favorite Namajunas seemed to go from a UFC darling to a heel overnight with just one bad fight. Her coaches undoubtedly failed her but it also shows the fickle nature of MMA as whole. You’re only as good as your recent fight, at least in the eyes of the so-called ‘fans.’
In 2022, a shocking soccer scandal emerged. Crawley Town sacked their head coach because of his disgraceful behavior toward non-white athletes. He introduced a segregated locker room because he didn’t want Asian and Black players to mix with white stars.
Yems also used racist and derogatory language toward these players. Seven players reported his misconduct and three investigations opened into his behavior. Yems had no shame because he instantly applied for jobs after Crawley Town fired him (via CNN).
Peyton Manning recommended his former offensive coordinator Gase to the New York Jets but it ended badly. He was one of the worst head coaches in their history. The self-professed quarterback guru also ruined Sam Darnold’s prospects of becoming a franchise QB. It was a complete shambles (via Fansided).
Gase coached Darnold badly and left him badly exposed throughout his tenure. It’s easy to forget that Darnold was very young when he joined the Jets. For context, Cincinnati Bengals passer Joe Burrow was older as a rookie than Darnold was in his first year. But Gase ruined his confidence and sent him on a downward spiral.
Valieva was a strong gold medal favorite heading into the women’s free skate at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022. Then a drug test scandal plagued her seemingly unstoppable run to the top of the figure skating world. However, she fell well short of expectations when she finished fourth overall. It was disappointing for the 15-year-old because she failed in front of the world.
Then, her coaches savagely rebuked her live on television. This stunned viewers because they spoke to the vulnerable young woman horribly. The distraught athlete had no response to their criticism and verbal abuse. It was harrowing to witness (via Yahoo! Sports). She failed a drug test at the end of 2021 in a scene that only furthered the dark cloud hanging over the entire Russian Olympic team. But her team and coaches seemingly never had her back and she became a used and abused example of how poorly Russian athletes were treated before they were made into scapegoats.
Kavanagh is one of the most high-profile MMA trainers on the planet because he coaches Conor McGregor, who is the biggest star in mixed martial arts history. However, he attracted criticism in recent years because of his pupil’s downward spiral. Former UFC champion Michael Bisping even called for McGregor to fire his long-serving coach.
That’s because critics see Kavanagh as a ‘yes man’ who doesn’t stand up to McGregor. McGregor’s wrestling hasn’t improved over the past few years. Meanwhile, he changed from a karate stance to a more conventional boxing style. This saw a decline in results (via Insider). The icing on the cake may have been when Kavanagh claimed McGregor had Dustin Poirier right where they wanted him early in their trilogy fight in July 2021 when in reality, McGregor was getting dominated with ground and pound on the mat.
Lopez Sr. won a lot of praise when his son defeated the legendary Vasily Lomachenko. However, he suffered a shock defeat to George Kambosos in 2021. Kambosos knocked Lopez down early and dominated the fight. But Lopez Sr. refused to accept the result.
He showed a lack of class as he said that everybody knew that his son won the fight. This was delusional and disrespectful. It also didn’t help his son because he made Lopez Jr. appear arrogant in defeat. Coaches should protect their athletes and instill humility (via SBNation).
Olympic judo medalist Ronda Rousey became a superstar as she dominated the UFC women’s bantamweight division. Her coach, Taverdyan, took a lot of credit for her success. But he failed to help her evolve and adapt to different fighting styles. He also encouraged her to throw her hands in a fatal error (via Sportskeeda).
She fought Holly Holm in a title defense that went badly wrong. Holm lit her up on the feet in an electric display. But Taverdyan infamously told Rousey that she was doing well and encouraged her to box. Remember, Rousey was an Olympic medal-winning judoka. After the fight, Rousey never won in the UFC again and much of that blame was placed on Tarverdyan.
First, we acknowledge that Petrino took over the Falcons at a difficult time. Atlanta lost their star quarterback Michael Vick after news broke of his dogfighting scandal. This completely derailed their season but it also won Petrino a grace period (via The Spun).
Despite his bad results, his job remained relatively safe. But he continued to flirt with the Arkansas job, despite denying this when the media asked him about links. Finally, he quit the Falcons and joined the Razorbacks. He said goodbye to his athletes by leaving notes in their lockers.