Amidst sexual assault allegations surrounding former team doctor Larry Nassar, MSU women’s gymnastics coach Kathie Klages has retired effective immediately. Mike Rowe, who was an assistant coach and the recruiting coordinator this season, will take her place as interim coach until the end of the season. After the season, it is unclear how the school will handle the coaching position.
Klages was originally suspended by Michigan State on February 13. A day later, as more information came out, and Klages retired.
Nassar had worked nearly 20 years at Michigan State before being suspended in September when the allegations first came out. He also worked with at a local gym for gymnasts ages preschool to high school called Twistars, and the U.S. National Team before resigning in 2015.
There have been over 60 victims that have reported Nassar sexually assaulted them since then. Half of which have filed a lawsuit against Nassar, including three first-degree sexual conduct charges.
Klages reportedly turned a blind eye, according to court documents filed in January. A gymnast training with Klages came to her with concerns regarding Nassasr’s procedures, but Klages told the girl that reporting him would result in serious consequences for both Nassar and the gymnast.
That girl, now in her thirties, testified in court under the identification Jane BMSU Doe. She explained that between 1994 and 2000, Nassar had sexually assaulted her while claiming it was a medical treatment. Nassar’s attorneys stand by that statement, and claim he performed legitimate medical procedures.
Klages told Doe that she was misunderstanding the treatment, and that she couldn’t imagine Nassar doing anything wrong. Klages did not report the incident.
“If evidence is uncovered that an MSU employee sought to interfere with the criminal case or prevent individuals from coming forward, we will take appropriate action,” a statement released by MSU said. “The university will not tolerate any interference with the investigation.”
Klages has not responded to requests for comments since the filing at the beginning of February.
Rowe who joined the MSU coaching staff prior to the 2014-15 season, formerly worked with Twistars. There are three gymnasts currently committed to Michigan State that competed at Twistars as well.