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Fired Eastern Washington cross country coach Chris Shane plans legal action

Former Eastern Washington cross country coach Chris Shane said Friday that he plans legal action to challenge the findings of a report that led to his departure from the program.

“My career has been blown up for nothing,” said Shane, who received a letter of termination on Dec. 19 from university president Mary Cullinan in the wake of a 57-page investigative report that included numerous allegations of misbehavior.

Shane notes that all of the allegations were brought up by a single “disgruntled” male cross country runner, and that he had a spotless record until now.

Among other things, the complainant alleged that Shane bullied and harassed him and others by using racial and homophobic slurs; commented on female athlete’s physical appearance; and suggested that athletes should use performance-enhancing drugs.

Shane also contends that he wasn’t given ample opportunity by special investigator Jeff Lamoureaux to respond to the allegations.

Shane said he plans to file a lawsuit against the university for public defamation.

The report includes testimony from the complainant, university officials and several male runners. The athletes’ names were redacted from the report.

Among the allegations:

  • During a team meeting in late October, Shane offended members of the team by jokingly saying that one of the athletes should be deported.
  • Also in October, Shane commented with team members, “All other things being equal, I like to recruit the prettier girls.”
  • On Oct. 20, team members felt intimidated by comments from Shane, who stated that he once had an opportunity to join the Army Special Forces and that he would not have a problem putting a gun to someone’s head and “pulling the trigger.”
  • While at the Chicago airport on Oct. 22, Shane angrily confronted an employee following a missed flight.
  • On Oct. 25, during a trip from Cheney to the Spokane airport, Shane yelled at a Cheney Public Schools bus driver after he was instructed to take a seat.
  • On Oct. 28 after a men’s race in Salt Lake City, Shane was driving a team van when another vehicle honked at the van. Shane responded by rolling down the driver’s window and yelled, “You don’t have to honk. I did not honk at you because you are fat and ugly.”
  • On Nov. 2, during a team meeting, Shane told a male athlete that he was the “biggest thorn in the side of the team” and referred to the same athlete as a “cancer” to the team.

In most of the cases, Shane either denies that the action took place or claims that his actions or words were misconstrued.

Shane, who came to Eastern in 2015 from the University of San Francisco, coached the Eagles men’s and women’s cross country teams as well as distance runners in track and field.

Shane, 37, is the son of USTFCCCA Hall of Fame coach Patrick Shane, who led BYU to 19 NCAA titles before retiring in 2016.

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