LUBBOCK, Texas — On June 30, Texas Tech University’s most-winning women’s tennis head coach resigned from his duties.
Per Texas Tech Athletics, Todd Petty announced his resignation due to wanting to spend more time with his family.
Petty released a statement on Twitter Monday, just under two months after his resignation.
Petty’s statement said in part:
“My past 15 years at Texas Tech have been some of the most enjoyable and fulfilling times in my life,” Petty said. “Having had the honor of coaching over 100 student-athletes, my philosophy has been consistent: my players are my family.”
USA Today sports reporter Josh Peter has spoken to nine former Texas Tech tennis players, parents of two players and one former Texas Tech employee about allegations of mistreatment by Petty.
“We requested documents from the university, they largely withheld them,” Peter said. “What they did do was provide us with documentation that there was an investigation that they had determined there was a possible violation by Todd Petty. They referred the matter to the Equal Employment Office, and ultimately stopped investigating when Todd resigned.”
In Peter’s report, former Tech tennis player Katelyn Jackson alleged that Petty had verbal outbursts. In one instance, she claimed that he violated her personal space by yelling expletives in her face.
Peter’s report stated in part:
“He would come running up in my face and say, ‘What the (expletive) are you doing? Are you (expletive) kidding me?’” Jackson said. “I remember one time he was so close to my face that I snapped back and I was like ‘I’m trying.’ And he was like ‘You’re not (expletive) trying.’”
Petty is now the third Red Raider women’s coach in under two years to leave following player allegations of mistreatment. In August 2020, women’s basketball’s Marlene Stollings was fired. The very next month, women’s softball coach Adrian Gregory resigned.
“Clearly, Texas Tech is not alone out there,” Peter said. “But to have three programs plagued by similar allegations of player abuse or mistreatment is probably an aberration.”
Dr. Andrea Elkon is a sports psychologist who works with collegiate athletes from around the country, including Texas Tech. She feels the pattern could be due to a lack of support from high-revenue men’s programs.
“My alarm bells go off about how well-supported women’s sports might be, or women’s sports being overshadowed in favor of higher visibility programs,” Elkon said. “The environment has to be inclusive, and welcoming, and one where collegiate athletes feel safe because their athletic talents are constantly on display and being monitored and judged.”
Peter feels he has now provided a platform for these affected athletes to speak out. Many of them told him they felt more comfortable talking to him instead of going to the Texas Tech Athletics Department with their concerns.
“Of the number of athletes I reached out to involved in the women’s tennis program, the vast majority had experienced the same issues,” Peter said. “I think what you have, at least in my experience, was this dating back to players involved in 2014, so it’s a long pattern.”
Peter said this investigation is not necessarily over. He is holding out hope that the university releases his requested documents and records so he is able to get to the bottom of what led Petty to resign.
“We’re still waiting on the State’s Attorney General to rule on Texas Tech’s request for opinion, and a determination of whether or not they have to provide us with the evidence from the investigation, which can be really revealing,” Peter said.
“So in that case, you know, this thing is not over.”
We reached out to Texas Tech Athletics about these allegations. They tell us they won’t be commenting on the matter at this time.