After sexual misconduct allegations, Harvard diving coach resigns

Harvard University’s head diving coach has resigned, days after the school placed him on leave following sexual misconduct allegations made against him in a federal lawsuit.

According to the suit, Chris Heaton solicited naked pictures from female athletes at a residential diving program in Indiana called Ripfest, where Heaton served as a coach. The complaint, filed Sept. 30, also alleged he sent pictures of his penis to young female athletes.

Last week, in the wake of those allegations, Harvard placed Heaton on leave.

In a statement Tuesday, the school announced that Heaton had stepped down.

Tracey Bird will succeed him as interim diving coach, effective immediately, and Harvard will conduct a national search for a permanent successor, according to the statement.


Heaton’s stint in Cambridge was short-lived. His hiring was announced on Aug. 22.

In a statement issued last week, a Harvard spokeswoman said the school was unaware of any misconduct allegations when it hired him to be head diving coach.

Heaton is not named as a defendant in the federal suit. The suit alleges that girls’ complaints about Heaton were mishandled by the Ripfest program, starting in 2015.

Danny McDonald can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.