Cal assistant coach defends conduct, alleges interaction was ‘mutual flirtation’

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New evidence was presented to UC officials Monday in the case of assistant Cal men’s basketball coach Yann Hufnagel, according to a press release from Hufnagel’s spokespeople Sam Singer and Tina Walker.

The new evidence — which includes more than 900 electronic messages between Hufnagel and a female reporter, who alleged that he sexually harassed her during the course of their professional relationship — shows that their interactions were mutually flirtatious, according to Singer.

In one exchange, the complainant texted Hufnagel to ask if she could stop by the Haas Pavilion to visit her “favorite assistant coach.” Upon hearing that Hufnagel was in Las Vegas, she said that she would have to “step up (her) stalking game.”

Hufnagel was relieved of his duties with the team last month after an Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination, or OPHD, investigation determined that he had violated UC sexual harassment policy.

Hufnagel has exercised his contractual right to a Skelly Review of the proposed disciplinary measures, in accordance with a state mandate. That review process is being conducted by an unnamed dean, according to campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof.

Singer alleged the newly submitted evidence “clearly demonstrates, beyond any doubt, that there was a mutual flirtation and that the mutual flirtation the majority of times was initiated by the female sports reporter.”

“The claims against coach Hufnagel are 100 percent false,” Singer alleged.

Hufnagel supplied OPHD investigators with approximately a dozen texts and two additional emails, Mogulof said in an email, noting that Hufnagel did not provide any of the evidence presented Monday during the OPHD investigation.

According to Singer, this evidence is being introduced now because Hufnagel was not asked to provide the totality of his correspondence with the complainant, an assertion that Mogulof refuted.

“The investigators explicitly requested that Mr. Hufnagel provide any and all information or materials that he believed would corroborate his account,” Mogulof alleged in an email. “It remains unclear why he apparently withheld hundreds of text messages he now believes to be relevant.”

The campus expects the review of the OPHD investigation to be completed by the end of this week, Mogulof said in the email.

Contact Maxwell Jenkins-Goetz at [email protected].