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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Gator Water Polo president, coach no longer at university following sexual harassment allegation

An official review found the allegations did not rise to a Title IX violation

UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect that student athletes from the UF men’s water polo team made accusations against Huelsman. The Alligator originally reported that members of Gator Water Polo made the accusations.

A UF employee who coached a university-affiliated water polo club is no longer working at the university after he was accused of being “overly touchy” and sharing a bed with student athletes.

A Title IX complaint filed Feb. 21 alleged David Huelsman, the 44-year-old head men’s water polo coach and president of Gator Water Polo, asked to sleep in the same bed as certain student athletes during away games.

Huelsman was “overly touchy” and there were “examples of club members leaving the program due to being made uncomfortable by Huelsman,” according to the complaint, filed by UF RecSports director Laura Hall. 

The complaint did not specify which student athletes made the accusations.

The UF Title IX Compliance Office held a hearing for Huelsman’s complaint April 29 where it waived Huelsman's charges. The office reached out to all parties listed in the initial complainbt and no one except for the person who initially reported Huelsman said they were harmed, according to the report.

UF spokesperson Cynthia Roldan said Huelsman’s employment at the university was non-renewed March 8 — less than three weeks after the initial complaint was filed and more than a month before the UF Title IX Compliance Office held its hearing. Roldan did not specify whether his severance with the university was related to the sexual harassment allegations.

A spokesperson for UF men's water polo said Heulsman hasn't coached the team since May 2023.

Huelsman joined UF in 2007 as an information security analyst. He was paid $110,000 in 2023 as an information security architect. 

He became the head men’s water polo coach at UF in 2016 and has since led the team to three state titles. He was named Florida Conference Coach of the Year in 2017, 2018 and 2019. He has also coached basketball, swimming and diving at Gainesville High School. 

It is unclear whether Huelsman still coaches the men's water polo team or leads Gator Water Polo. Gator Water Polo did not respond for comment.

Huelsman did not respond to calls made to phone numbers listed in his university personnel file.

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He has no criminal history.

Contact Garrett Shanley at gshanley@alligator.org. Follow him on X @garrettshanley.

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Garrett Shanley

Garrett Shanley is a fourth-year journalism major and the Summer 2024 university editor for The Alligator. Outside of the newsroom, you can find him watching Wong Kar-Wai movies and talking to his house plants.


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