ANNE WISSEL TALKS ABOUT RED WOLVES SITUATION
October 31, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
ANOTHER FORMER PLAYER SPEAKS OUT
There is no denying Anne Wissel knows volleyball. The former Richmond Red Devils had a standout volleyball career for RHS, then went to Ball State to play division one college volleyball. What made Wissel’s career even more special, she came back years later to play for Charlie Brown at IU East and helped the Red Wolves make it to the national tournament in Iowa. Wissel’s playing days are over, but she continues to coach at Earlham College. Wissel is another former player who spoke out Tuesday night over the allegations against IU East volleyball Coach Adam Stevenson and AD Mark Hester.
If you know Anne, she is one who is straight forward and has a very strong personality. She will tell you what she thinks and had plenty to say about the Red Wolves program. Anne knows the players involved and despite being away from the program for almost a year, she has kept in contact with a couple of the players, usually through social media, texting or in class. Wissel has described the players’ mentality as “devastated.”
Wissel was thinking about playing again this season despite a busy schedule of being a mom, student, wife and working. That all changed very early after hearing about Coach Stevenson from some of the players and the rules he was implementing, including hugging after practice. Wissel knew something was wrong after talking with Allison Gutierrez and Cinder Weber in class.
Wissel says she and the team confronted Stevenson about the “hugging” rule, held a meeting and told him they were not comfortable with hugging him. Wissel says she told Stevenson “I don’t know you and so I am not going to hug you.” Some have been wondering why there was a hugging rule in the first place. Wissel says Stevenson told the team the reason for hugging is “The team is a family and in our family, we hug when we meet and when we depart.” Wissel made it clear to Stevenson, “we are not a family.”
Wissel attended a couple more practices after Gutierrez and Weber asked her to because they felt so uncomfortable with Stevenson. Wissel was told about some of the incidents, including Coach Stevenson entering Gutierrez’ apartment, and her bedroom, without another female coach present and Gutierrez in the apartment. That’s when another meeting was called and was to include the IUE Chancellor and Human Resources. The team had filed a sexual harassment complaint against Stevenson and the allegations were to be investigated and their findings sent to Bloomington for their determination.
The next meeting scheduled was to be held with the chancellor and HR, but Wissel says the only person who showed up was Athletic Director Mark Hester. Here’s where it gets even more interesting for Wissel and the players who filed the complaint. Hester told the team the complaint was “dismissed” because it wasn’t “continuous.” Wissel says Hester had a smirk on his face and almost seemed to enjoy all of this. According to Wissel, Hester told the team, “You don’t like change and you don’t know how to handle adversity. You haven’t had that much adversity in your life and you need to learn how to deal with it.” Wissel says she responded to the comment by telling Hester, “I have gone through plenty of adversity in my life and so have these players, so tell us how to handle adversity.” That’s when Wissel and the team felt Hester and IU East simply blew them off. Wissel made the decision then she was done with volleyball at IU East. That’s also the time many players left the team including most of the returning players from last year’s national tournament team.
It's Wissel's opinion Hester wanted it this way because he didn’t like the success of the volleyball program and wanted to see the volleyball program fail so his basketball program would get more publicity. Wissel also found out from former volleyball coach Charlie Brown that Hester didn’t want Brown to sign Wissel because he didn’t like her.
Wissel isn’t happy at all to see this happening to a program that she put so much time into last season. The countless hours of practice, thousands of miles on the road, missing her family for several months, dedicating her time and efforts to a game she loves. Wissel also says “every player on the IU East volleyball team made the same kind of sacrifices, for the school, the coach, the community and the team and this is how they are repaid....being ignored."
Wissel says she is "very sad' for the players, the ones who left the program and even for the ones who stayed because they are all in a very difficult situation. When asked what should happen, Wissel feels that Stevenson and Hester both should be fired.