Subscribe to The Brown Daily Herald Newsletter

Sign up for The Brown Daily Herald’s daily newsletter to stay up to date with what is happening at Brown and on College Hill no matter where you are right now!



Softball coach Flynn accused of bullying players

Three-quarters of underclassmen on team during Flynn’s first season have since left

Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, April 23, 2015

Softball players accused Head Coach Katie Flynn of making snide comments about their physical appearances and creating a hostile environment.

Several softball players have left the team over the last three seasons after allegedly being bullied by Head Coach Katie Flynn, according to interviews with five former players and emails reviewed by The Herald.

The coach made disparaging remarks about players’ body weights and created a hostile environment for them during games, the former players said.

Though players and their parents brought their concerns to Director of Athletics Jack Hayes, President Christina Paxson P’19 and other administrators, no substantive action has been taken by the University.

The softball team has been plagued by poor player retention during Flynn’s tenure, now in its third year. Of the team’s 12 underclassmen in 2013 — Flynn’s first season as head coach — only three remain, according to team rosters listed on the Brown Athletics website.

The five players interviewed for this article, who wished to remain anonymous because they feared social and personal repercussions for speaking out, all cited Flynn’s conduct as their primary reason for leaving the team.

Hayes declined to comment on the specific case, citing confidentiality concerns in personnel matters in an email to The Herald. But he wrote generally, “Under no circumstance would we tolerate bullying. We value open communication with members of any sports team, and we approach all questions or concerns carefully, thoughtfully and seriously in line with the values of the institution.”

Flynn also declined to comment for this story, writing in an email to The Herald that Hayes spoke on behalf of the entire Athletics Department.

Paxson did not respond to a request for comment.

Several former players spoke of comments Flynn made about their physical appearances. The students expressed heightened concern about the remarks because one of the team’s former players has an eating disorder.

A former player who is now a senior recalled one incident that occurred while the team was on a trip to California for a game during the 2014 season. After her parents hosted a team dinner at their home, the student said Flynn stood at the front of the team’s bus and said, “She lives a block away from an ice cream shop? That explains a lot.”

Flynn also told other coaches in front of some players that she resembled the Cookie Monster, the student said.

After the student informed Hayes of the first incident, she said he confirmed it with team captains and addressed the matter with Flynn.

Flynn later wrote a brief apology to the player and put it in her mailbox. But the student described the three-sentence note as inadequate.

“The comments she made to me really affected me,” the former player said. “I don’t typically have any issues with my body, but after her comments, I felt pretty shitty about myself.”

The student said Flynn’s comments about her weight were the reason she quit the team.

“I’ve played softball since I was seven years old, and the fact that that’s the note I ended on after playing my entire life hurt,” she said. “I decided that it’s not worth the love of the sport to be told you’re fat in front of your entire team.”

In a March 2014 email to a professor who offered to advise her on the situation, the student wrote, “My experience as a softball player has been ruined by (Flynn). I do not think I can mentally and emotionally play for her any longer.”

The professor replied, “If I made a remark like that to a student in my class, I’d expect to be severely disciplined.”

Another player recalled Flynn making her feel uncomfortable when trying on a uniform.

“I asked for a smaller size, and (Flynn) said ‘no’ and that I was ‘definitely not that size,’” the former player said. “When the pants came, I showed up with the size she allowed me to get, and then she made comments on how they looked like balloon pants.”

In another incident on a team trip to Princeton, a player’s aunt brought the team chocolates. A former player recalled Flynn saying to her teammate’s aunt, “Have you seen our outfielders? They don’t need those.”

Former players said they were also troubled by the hostile environment Flynn created during games.

“People would cry in the dugout,” one said.

During one game, a former player was put in for a teammate who had committed an error, she recalled. “I made all of the plays, and then in my second inning there was a line drive (that) went past me. … I saw (Flynn) throw her clipboard across the dugout,” she said. “That was the last time I played the field all season.”

“I would dread the weekends because of the games. I would detach from my friends on weekends. I would have to mentally prepare to deal with this emotional abuse I knew I would be facing,” the student said. “I have been exponentially happier since quitting the team.”

During Flynn’s second year as coach, several players and their parents contacted Hayes to voice their concerns.

In an email to Flynn explaining her decision to leave the team, one former player detailed experiences that affected her emotional and academic well-being. Referring to Flynn’s remark about the ice cream shop near her home, the student wrote, “You singled me out in front of my peers and publicly humiliated me.”

Despite the volume of criticism from players, many still believe their grievances have not been appropriately addressed.

“We sort of got ignored and were told that we didn’t know what we were talking about,” a former player said. “I talked to Jack Hayes for 45 minutes. … No matter how many facts I told him, he just did not believe me.”

Flynn “is totally undeserving of representing Brown. We should be able to have a better coach or at least one that treats (her) players with respect,” the student added. “It’s one thing to be a bad coach, but if you’re not even going to respect the people you work with every day, … I don’t understand how Brown let that happen.”

To stay up-to-date, subscribe to our daily newsletter.

  1. brown_softball_alumna says:

    In the season before they hired this coach — whose own height-to-weight ratio is (how shall I put it) more extravagant than any of her players — the varsity softball team had a record of 10 wins and 27 losses. That was 2012. In 2013, Flynn’s first year, varsity softball got worse, dropping to 10-28. And in 2014, Flynn’s second year, softball had the worst year in its history, 4-34. That’s right — 4 wins out of 38 games played. So Flynn’s results alone should have earned her the sack. Why on earth is the administration protecting her? Do some digging, BDH, and you’ll discover the back-story here (there is one, trust me).

  2. Softball 101 says:

    I thought it was a coaches job to make sure his or her team is in good shape? Doesn’t that help to improve ones game? It sounds to me like the anonymous former player who is having trouble letting go of experiences from a year ago doesn’t have the stomach for competitive sports (no pun intended).

    • brown_softball_alumna says:

      Dear “Softball 101”: I know a little about this situation, and it is not just a single “anonymous former player” — your uncomprehending assertion (are you unable to read?) — who has brought the charge in the University of a bullying coach. Nor is it only the “five” players interviewed by the BDH (are you unable to read?). Nor is it just the “several” parents, as specified in the article, who have testified to the administration (are you unable to read?). In fact, it is a mass of testimony from all quarters, as indicated by the resignation from the team of THREE-QUARTERS of the coach’s original roster (are you unable to read?). Here’s what I think. “Softball 101” is an ally of the coach. And the low-brow, bad-pun rhetoric of his or her posting (“doesn’t have the stomach for competitive sports”) is a dead giveaway. I’ll be waiting for the dismissal of this incompetent coach (4 wins, 34 losses last season) before I write another check to the BSF.

      • Softball 101 says:

        Dear Brown Softball Alumna,
        I am actually not an ally of the coach in this article, but am an employee of another University and I see how one-sided journalism (if you can call it journalism) can injure one’s reputation without cause. I truly do not believe that a University with the standards of Brown University would brush this under the rug if the assertions were true. I’m willing to bet it was investigated and the assertions made by the players in this article were unfounded and that is why the coach is still coaching. I would love to hear from some of the players who are still on the team and would love to know this year’s record after these whining players left.

        • You obviously don’t know much about Brown….

          • Dear soft ball 101, AND anyone who knows nothing about Brown…
            Whenever outsiders judge the things that go on in Brown, it is always based on their own experiences. Think of Zimmerman and Martin. How the situation “looks” depends on one’s past experiences. Likewise, outsiders often assume Brown is like other institutions OR it lives up to it’s ivy league elite name.
            But for those of us who are very familiar with the world inside the gates of Brown, things aren’t always what they seems. Multiple major events in the news (some recent, some old) pretty much demonstrate this… Phi Psi, McCormick, Martin Keller, Ray Kelly, David Kern, Sex Power and God on the O’Reilly Factor, the unions… etc. Every year, freshman are told they are the “best class ever.” Every year! Then there is the deal with the Brown fencing team, the skiing team.
            For those of us who were here long enough, you see just how far Brown U is a CORPORATION as opposed to a UNIVERSITY. You have all these bright eyed idealistic smart students flooding into the gates every year believing in this alma mater… imagine if someone went to McDonald’s truly believing that McDonald’s was not merely a corporation but a loving caring en locus parentis diner providing you with excellent meals with not a care about the dollars involved.

  3. softball44 says:

    I encourage those reading this article to think critically about why the athletic administration is protecting Flynn, rather than assuming the players are lying. Player and their parents referred to in this article have written evidence of their attempts to speak with the athletic department, and their lack of acknowledgment of the problems at hand. Parents and players complained extensively about Flynn in official meetings and interviews with the athletic department a YEAR ago, and nothing was done. If an investigation is done, and it is found that she was bullying the players (as she clearly was), it is not only her job that will be lost, but also the jobs of the athletic department members who ignored the complaints of the parents and players whom she affected negatively. If there was video evidence of any of these incidents described, she would have been gone as soon as they surfaced (I encourage those interested to refer to the Rutgers basketball coach fired when caught on video, in which case the athletic director was also fired). Whether the reasons be financial, political, or straight-up laziness, the university chose keep representing themselves with a woman that presents complete opposite ideals as the university advertises, and who severely hurt the college experience of multiple players. I recommend the BDH look further into this issue, compare to other recent schools with similar incidents, and reach out to graduated players.

    • Generally most accusations in situations such as these are generally true… at least in general they are even if the details might be fudged. The story might be exaggerated, but even so, the general story line is true. To determine the truth, there are several important pieces to look at:
      1) is there a pattern to either side? Did either side have a pattern of behavior. For example, did Flynn do this in previous employments? Did the softball team complain about previous coaches?
      2) Talk to the people. Someone just by talking to the people involved we have a guy feeling that tells us what is going on. We just “know” what is “really” going on by body language and overall personalities.
      3) Facts… The Brown softball team’s winning and losing record says a lot, and is hard to fake.
      4) “Every time you point a finger, you point 4 fingers back at yourself.” This aphorism speaks for itself
      5) It takes two to create an accident. Many times conflict is generated when there are two deranged parties.

      • softball44 says:

        I’m a little confused about how anyone is claiming these could be false accusations when they have been corroborated by multiple students. You can ask anyone on last year’s team, their friends, or family, and they would all tell you they heard the stories. The reporter clearly did “talk” to people, as they interviewed them to write the article. A sports team at any university should be a safe environment, with open communication between an athlete and coach, so that “accidents” cannot occur, and if one does, it should not be repeated.

        • Softball44, I was supporting the students’ side. But the truth I was referring to was why is Flynn here! Many comments here seem to allude to why she is still at Brown… but no one has put forth a reason why.

          • softball44 says:


          • This article only focused on the bullying which did happen and was confirmed by many players. Flynn did many other things that were awful. She would stand at games away from her players (Loyola tourney for one) and not speak to them because after the first few games last season she gave up on them. Her practices were so bad that the girls did not even break a sweat. She tore at least one player apart in a hotel lobby in front of strangers using expletives and no matter how many people complained they never did anything. This is not just one student athlete, there were more. You do not lose 25% of your players for no reason. How about yelling at players and telling them you hate them. Yes that happened to one of the girls who quit. It was her practice to make fun of players to other players during games. Maybe she is keeping her mouth shut this year to save her job. Who knows. The author could have written 10 pages and only wrote this. None of the current squad is speaking out because they do not want to lose playing time. Are you kidding me. Plus the students and players are afraid of retribution. Use your head.

    • If the coach isn’t running an effective practice or not working you
      hard, Work yourself harder. When you get out in the real world are you
      going to complain that your boss isn’t working you hard enough? If you
      do you are dumber than I thought. If someone tells you you are
      overweight, then maybe you are. Take your own initiative, do the work
      and that way you can take pride in what you do and no one to blame but
      yourself. Maybe you want someone else to blame. That is not how to
      rise to the next level and take responsibility or to humble yourself.
      So good luck graduates, get out of there, join the real world and
      continue complaining, then when you look back at your life and wonder
      what happened, you can start your own reality show. “Housewives of
      Brown.” Come out in the real world. We are waiting.

      • I played for Flynn for a year and a half. Body shaming isn’t the half of it. I lived to play softball and quit after that year and a half. I didn’t pick up a ball for a year and a half before walking on to a new D 1 team. I am in the real world and would not tolerate that behavior from my boss. She’s emotionally abusive on many levels, she will find your weakness and attack it. This isn’t the only school with major attrition, JMU also had trouble keeping their players. Terrible coach who knows nothing about getting the best out of her players.

        • I applaud your pointing out that “shaming” is not effective anywhere — and that you would be right to oppose it in your work as well as at Brown. I’m so sorry to hear as an alum that you had to leave the university to find a way to pursue your passion.

  4. The Editors of BDH were unable/unwilling to publish this, so I publish it here…John Lonergan

    A gift of $100 million a year to

    We would like to
    give $100 million per year to Brown. This money could be used to offset tuition
    fees, pay professors more, and support Brown’s current budget, which is in
    deficit. We have proposed this to
    Christina Paxson and several leaders within Brown’s administration.

    We in Northern
    California have created a plan to significantly increase Brown’s
    revenues. We are students from
    before birth, and remain students until we die. Those who are fortunate
    enough to attend Brown bring their own experiences and relationships with them.
    Our proposal outlines how Brown can participate in the learning process
    for high school students, with a goal of exposing students to Brown professors
    and students, developing and reinforcing a Brown-student relationship well
    before the admissions process begins.

    The key benefits to
    Brown are:

    1. Brown can
    add $100 million in revenues by teaching AP courses.

    2. This program would
    benefit both high-income and low-income high school students, as well as local
    teachers, Brown professors and Brown students (as paid

    3. This gives you Brown
    to increase student acceptance
    rate (now at 60%) and improve the number of high-potential poor
    students (a key target).

    proposal outlines a plan for Brown to offer AP courses in select schools,
    starting with Northern California. These
    courses would be co-taught by the local AP teacher and Brown professor,
    assisted by Brown students acting as proctors.
    The goals of the program are:

    1. To offer the students a compelling, interesting and
    informative set of courses.

    2. To expose promising high school students to Brown professors
    and students.

    3. To give Brown visibility on promising students who may
    become good candidates to attend Brown.

    4. To support schools which may need
    teaching resources in inner-city and poorer school districts, and support their
    local efforts.

    fundamental principles of this program are that (1) it must be financially
    self-supporting, (2) it offers a first-class educational experience that is
    rewarding for Brown students and professors as well as students, and (3) that
    it works in concert with local resources, with full backing of the high

    is offered

    The educational product would consist of the following:

    A set of internet lectures using
    the Khan Academy format on AP subjects, given by a professor at Brown.
    These lectures are normally watched by the students online at home
    (as homework).

    A set of exercises and questions
    which are answered by the students during class time.

    A teaching guide for the local AP
    teacher. The teacher uses this guide and assists students in class
    to answer questions and do exercises.

    Tests to be proctored by the local
    AP teacher which are submitted for grading to Brown students assisting the
    professor (Brown students are paid for this course assistance). Results
    are then shared with the AP teacher and Brown (for certification).

    If applicable, online textbooks as
    a part of the educational offering.

    will pay?

    those who have the greatest stakes in the education of students: parents,
    teachers, guidance counselors, who are willing and able to pay. “Rich”
    schools’ parents pay for their child’s certificate. Some scholarships
    offered. “Poor” schools parents pay, but with a great deal more
    scholarship assistance.

    are the target markets?

    the world. The “freemium” model can be disseminated on YouTube and used
    by millions. The “certificate” model is also freely expandable (same
    professor, more Brown student proctors).

    much effort is involved?

    A Khan
    Academy format requires very little professor time and effort. With a
    virtual “blackboard” and voiceover, the professor can video a series of
    lectures based on his/her Brown classroom offerings.

    school students in the “certified” program will require support. This
    would be provided by Brown students working at the direction of a Brown
    professor. These students’ main tasks would include grading courses,
    answering teachers’ and students’ questions, and monitoring feedback.


    scholarships administered by Brown in collaboration with local guidance counselors.

    We have shared the
    entire plan, with revenues and costs, with top members of the administration at
    Brown. It is also available for public
    view at http://www.brownnext250years.wordpres...

    So, what’s stopping
    us? Let’s make this happen.

    • I can think of a million better ways for Brown to spend $100M than offering online AP courses that others have to pay to take (even if they didn’t have to pay I’d still be against this). You wrote “We.” Does that mean there’s more than one weirdo who wants this?

      • Perhaps it’s the royal we.

        • I don’t understand why Bay Area alums would suddenly want to donate $100M to support the softball program. The student athletes are already learning at the university level. It seems doubtful that high school classes – even if AP level and delivered online – would help the team very much.

          This is another example of simply throwing money at a problem. It would be more fruitful for alumni groups to lobby the University to examine the complaints described in the article and evaluate this coach’s future at Brown.

      • EARN $100 million, not SPEND $100 million.

  5. Tom Bale '63 says:

    Katie Flynn, Jack Hayes, President Paxson, you need to speak up. For an alumnus on the outside of the softball situation in the BDH report, I am still very disturbed. There is too much at stake for the administration to remain silent. I am pushed to add my comment because of the testimony of the athlete who felt compelled to leave the team because of the ridicule she experienced by her coach. It brought back a Little League memory I have from decades ago. I was on third base when my teammate hit a ball that was caught in left field. The coach yelled for me to tag up. I hadn’t learned what that meant so I stayed on 3rd. He charged in from the sidelines screaming at me, calling me an idiot, waving his arms as if he wanted to hit me. All my teammates looked down as I did in the face of my humiliation. I was 11 years old. It is hard for me to believe this long buried memory has re-emerged. It is testimony of the impact our teachers have on us. No coach should be allowed to treat a player like that. None. Jack Hayes, President Paxson you have an obligation to look into this, and make a public disclosure of your understanding of the treatment of this athlete-student. I cannot go back to address the treatment I experienced with my coach, but you can with Katie Flynn.

  6. For everyone that doesn’t think an Ivy League school with such “high standards” would brush a situation like this under the rug, take a look around at the other Ivies. This isn’t just happening at Brown. It happened for 10 years with Columbia’s softball program who graduated 2 seniors in the past 3 years. Allegations have been brought against Columbia’s football staff as well. No institution like Brown wants to admit they made a mistake but it does happen and athletes deserve a lot more than a coach that has no respect for them.

  7. Common Sense says:

    Seems like the BDH should have interviewed some of the 12 Freshman and Sophomores on the current roster and see if they have experienced the same. Or look into Coach Flynn’s prior 10+ years of coaching at JMU.

    If the allegations are proven true then they should be dealt with in an appropriate manner. However, without seeing whether the coach’s current behavior is consistent with what she has been accused of is hard to make any conclusion. Could it be the allegations were blown out of context? It just goes against all reason to believe someone can change their pattern of behavior so quickly. Meaning if it was not a pattern of behavior demonstrated in the past ( 10+ years at JMU ) not a behavior currently being demonstrated ( we don’t know because whether they interviewed current players on her roster for past two years ) It’s hard to believe that the behavior only was demonstrated to a specific group of players over a two year timeframe. ( and then it abruptly stopped ). It may or may not have happened before? BDH does not address this. It may or not be happening currently? Again BDH does not address this. The only thing they did was take one side of an alleged event that happened over 1+ year ago and report it as fact. Seems a little unfair.

    • softball44 says:

      She was abruptly fired from JMU with no explanation after ten years with a winning record. Having spoken to past players from JMU, I can tell you that she displayed similar behavior there, but they had the sense to get rid of her. The point of this article is that bullying and emotional abuse are not acceptable in any situation. In bullying, it does not matter what the intentions of the bully are. It matters how the person who is being bullied feels. Look it up in any high school or college student conduct manual.

  8. It seems like Flynn is merely incompetent and not necessarily malicious. She is focused on winning and improving their win to loss ratio (as she should as coach). While her heart is in the right place, she does what every rookie leader does: yell and scream to get what they want. People without leadership experience like to overuse “the whip” to get the donkey to move… when the whip should be used only very judiciously. She probably didn’t realize that her own insecurities are felt by the group very acutely.

    It is also likely that a little bit of the “Stanford Prison experiment” is going on. When someone in power feels that he or she is not respected the way he or she wants, seemingly abusive things can happen.

    Hence the perceived “bullying” occurs.

    For example, if I were to coach a little league base ball team, I would realize I can’t yell at the team members to hit a home run and hope that my screams will in fact improve their performance. (if they did, then why are athletes even bothering with steroids?) I would realize, I got to get my team to exercise, work out and condition… they need to be motivated, they need guidance.

    • softball44 says:

      The point of this article is that bullying and emotional abuse are not acceptable in any situation. In bullying, it does not matter what the intentions of the bully are. It matters how the person who is being bullied feels. Look it up in any high school or college student conduct manual.

  9. What about all the girls who are still on the team? What do they have to say? Considering none of the girls need to play softball in order to attend the university, why wouldn’t they all speak out? None of them will be going pro and a majority were recruited through softball in order to attend such a great school. I think there seems to be a bit of an exaggeration and bias from the girls who left the team. I believe there are plenty of other factors that went into the above accusations and if the girls who left the team aren’t happy they shouldn’t put the current players at risk. The girls who stayed are a tight knit group who are playing well despite such a young and small squad.

    • Disgruntled student says:

      How exactly are the girls on the team at risk? Coach Flynn is still the coach, and will be until the end of the season. Jack Hayes corroborated the incidents with the captains of last year’s team. Players that are still on the team were probably not bullied by the coach, therefore no affecting their love of the game. It is really sad that some of the girls that left the team finally had the courage to tell their story, and they are accused of “lying”. The article clearly states that the “ice cream” incident on the bus happened in front of the entire team/coaching staff. I’m sure every single person on the team won’t deny that event happened. But because it was directed towards them in particular, it might not hinder their experience on the Brown softball team.

    • Risk??? No exaggeration, it happened. They dont speak out because they love playing softball. They dont speak out because they are afraid of retribution.

  10. softball45 says:

    As a good friend of one of Coach Flynn’s former players, I can attest to the accuracy of this article’s content. My friend told me about the behavior and remarks cited in this article way prior to its publication. I also watched my friend’s passion for softball, self-esteem and sociability (among other things) plummet during the time she played for Coach Flynn. She was
    exponentially happier once she quit the team.

    Flynn’s poor treatment of her players is something that has been widely recognized in the softball community at Brown and amongst those who are close to girls in the community. It is appalling that all this is just coming to light. As the article states, the fact that there are only three remaining underclassmen of the original twelve that played for Flynn during her first
    season should have been a huge red flag a long time ago.

    The thing is, these girls’ stories have not gone untold. The verbal abuse perpetrated by Coach Flynn has been brought to the
    attention of higher-ups in the athletic administration and school administration and nothing has been done. I find this truly astounding. My friend has told me about the numerous meetings that have taken place, phone calls made, letters written, and emails exchanged between players and members of the athletic administration and school administration regarding Coach Flynn over the past three years.

    The behavior and remarks mentioned in the article are, without a doubt, a form of bullying. It shocks me that a woman might think it is appropriate and acceptable to direct such demeaning and humiliating comments – which are hugely docking to one’s self-esteem – at other women.

    Girls on the softball team, like all other athletes at Brown, are here, firstly, to receive an education. They are not bound by any athletic scholarships. The reason (or, at least, hopefully the reason) girls on the softball team (and other athletes) dedicate so much time to their sport is because they love playing the game. It upsets me so much that one woman has extinguished a lifelong love of softball for so many girls. This is a tragedy and contrary to everything a Brown student-athlete’s experience should be.

    • while these incidents by Coach Flynn may very well be correct, what is concerning is the way it is being handled.
      Every story has two sides, and Flynn may have a side as well. Perhaps she is having a hard time, perhaps a strange personal issue going on you don’t know about? People make mistakes, even ivy league coaches.
      Some of the evidence being presented are plausible, but not necessarily definitive. For example, the fact that many girls left the team does not mean they must be right. This almost seems to suggest that a mob-like mentality. What if one or two girls spread rumors about Flynn, talked behind her back and got everyone to gang up on her? This isn’t impossible in a tight-knit group like a sports team.
      Another plausible consideration is Flynn might be doing some of these things, but they are being exaggerated through the grapevine. It’s called a game of telephone. In turn, the players are being hostile to the coach through their body language… (I can always tell whenever girls have talked about me behind my back because their body language changes). These girls may not be aware that that dynamic can irritate Flynn. Flynn might feel very disrespected and might be more frustrated as a result…. I’m not saying this is happening, but girls might being very unintentionally doing this and are not aware of the effect of their body languages.
      Even so, the way it is being handled is a bit immature. Has anyone talked to Flynn? perhaps a team captain? or a collective letter? has anyone gently talked to her? It seems as though the girls complained to their “boss’s boss” This kind of conduct is generally unacceptable.
      it’s true that the girls are here because they love the game and they are not bound by athletic scholarships, but they got into brown b/c of this sport… their applications to Brown would have looked very different without that sport. I know members of the brown football team and they are not necessarily treated like princes by their coaches. you don’t have a “job” to win for Brown, but that is what is expected by the Brown community.
      And their is a saying… if you don’t like it leave…

      • Can you read? The incidents were acknowledged by asst. coaches and players. It happened. The girls were afraid of her, no one was disrespecting her. She came in here having no respect for the players. When some of the older players went to meet her when she was hired she asked why are you here to suck up. No most of these women have been taught to introduce themselves and say hello. You have no idea what you are talking about. This is why abuse and bullying goes on. This sounds like where you blame the victim for rape, or you blame the abused spouse for being hit.

      • Pedantic,

        Yes, there
        are two sides to any story, and yet we have not heard anything from Brown, the athletic department, or Flynn regarding these allegations. To address some of your concerns, regardless of any personal issues that may or may not be going on in a coach’s life it is unacceptable to use that as an excuse for treating people poorly. I also think it is important to note that the women who spoke out in this article are intelligent young women who undoubtedly understand the severity of these accusations and they would not be made without cause and proper consideration. As far as your concern about the players treating Flynn differently through body language or disrespecting her, I supposed you could refer to the golden rule of treating others the way you would like to be treated. When you don’t respect your players and treat them poorly you can’t expect them to turn around and kiss your feet.

        You mention that this seems to be handled “immaturely”. I can assure you that this issue would not have become a publicized story if all other avenues had not been pursued first. Not only did players and parents speak to the athletic administration, but also all players at Brown fill out questionnaires at the end of their season evaluating their coaches. I think if we were privy to that information it would be quite telling. I also know that there were a few players who did attempt to speak with Flynn regarding the way they were treated. These conversations were anything but constructive and were one-sided with the girls being further discouraged. Obviously you yourself have not attempted to have a conversation
        with her.

        As for your parting comment, there* is a saying “if you don’t like it, leave” and clearly if you read this article you can see that many of the players on the team did leave. It seems that you are missing the point of this article. Let me simplify it for you. Many girls on this team felt victimized and bullied by Flynn, enough so that many of them did leave the team. No one deserves to be treated this way. In an environment where coaches should be encouraging, motivating, and uplifting their players, Flynn
        was tearing them down.

  11. As a parent of a student athlete at Brown it’s disturbing to read of such happenings.

    Such behavior, by a coach, would appear completely contrary to the ideals of such an institution and one would hope that some form of athletic oversight would detect this.

    At the very least a yearly independent and anonymous review by athletes, of all coaches, would help restore some balance to the equation…and that should apply to all sports teams!

  12. softballfan says:

    At least someone isn’t waiting 10 years to investigate like at Columbia. It kept being pushed aside by administration saying is can’t be as bad as the players were portraying it to be. The reason they seemed to keep the coach at Columbia was because she kept getting donations to the program. It certainly wasn’t due to her coaching skills.
    When players were brought back after the coaches firing, they were told to keep their mouths shut by the AD and to quit whining. Hopefully it ends up better for Brown.

  13. Jake Patsmaro says:

    Fire her. And by the way, somebody soon will find out that she is Sandusky’s cousin, and that Brown has known about it for years.

  14. Softball dad

  15. My daughter wants to go to Brown due to the Alumni. Now I’m not sure. If Brown graduates all these complainers, she is going to be a rock star. You guys sound like her high school team, really. If they want to change practice they do. If the coach isn’t running an effective practice or not working you hard, Work yourself harder. When you get out in the real world are you going to complain that your boss isn’t working you hard enough? If you do you are dumber than I thought. If someone tells you you are overweight, then maybe you are. Take your own initiative, do the work and that way you can take pride in what you do and no one to blame but yourself. Maybe you want someone else to blame. That is not how to rise to the next level and take responsibility or to humble yourself. So good luck graduates, get out of there, join the real world and continue complaining, then when you look back at your life and wonder what happened, you can start your own reality show. “Housewives of Brown.” Come out in the real world. We are waiting.

  16. stereotypes says:

    This story merely reinforces some of the stereotypes about girls. Whenever they have issues with someone, they will tattle tale, they tell everyone they know, they tell their friends to gang up on that person, or they tell the media. Girls likely learned this when they were little… tattle tale to daddy when something isn’t going right, tell all their group of friends and attack bully another girl. They love to tell the media because they get to have attention. And of course, the old stereotype that girls love drama. From some of the comments, it seems that the girls have asked other girls who were at JMU. It’s so stereotypical that girls gather as much information as they can about other people even from their distant pasts… (how many times have I dated a girl only to realize that she knew a lot of things about me from having thoroughly investigated my past?) This is actually creepy behavior.

    Imagine if something like this happened in the guy’s softball team: A male couch belittling and harassing his students. Some of the students might leave, some might tough it out. It’s unlikely they would report this in the media, tell all their friends, or even ask students at that couch’s previous school. They might feel bad about it, but they would still play the sport. It might reach media attention if a player died or got seriously injured. The team might bond closer together, bond over booze and girls on the weekends.

    This article is an affront to feminism and all the progress made.

    • stereotypes says:

      “The events described in the article allegedly occurred at a time before
      most of the current players arrived at Brown. As such, it would be
      improper and unfair for the new players to comment on what past players
      may or may not have experienced.” This quote is from the editorial response to this article.

      It pretty much reinforces the stereotype that girls assume that rumors about someone is true EVEN IF they have not witnessed it themselves.

  17. No shock at all that Flynn looks like a bull-dyke so no shock she’d pick on girls she deems less than her.

  18. It starts at the top. Brown has been corrupted by Leftist philosophy and cowardice. They spit in the face of abuses made by the LGBT community, and if anyone thinks the fear of protecting the LGBT lobby is not part of the coaching problem in women’s softball, you are not listening. They are a caricature of what universities have become — a safe zone for liberal speech and intimidation, but for no one else.
    Shame on you, Brown. I correspond with hundreds of alums weekly now, most of whom are in position to be and have been substantial donors, and without my help they would not be aware of these insults to our alma mater. I hope I am having an impact on them so they vote with their feet. The arrogance of Brown’s administration requires a complete housecleaning. If Trustees don’t get this soon, Brown will soon be back where it was in the early 70’s before they raised the stature with so many celebrity admittees, like the Kennedy’s.

  19. Trustees — WAKE UP. Clean house asap or the place is going down the tubes.

  20. Let’s be blunt here. Flynn has no room for “shaming” others’ bodies. She should be coaching Brown’s offensive linemen in the football program.

Comments are closed. If you have corrections to submit, you can email The Herald at