Cal Poly swim coach accused of misconduct, on leave

September 12, 2023

Cal Poly swim coach Phil Yoshida


Cal Poly’s head swim coach Phil Yoshida is on indefinite leave amid an investigation into allegations he is verbally and emotionally abusive to students and assistant coaches, according to an article in the Orange County Register.

On Sept. 6, Mustang Athletic Director Don Oberhelman informed swimmers Yoshida was on leave. Last year, under Yoshida’s coaching 15 Mustang men and woman swimmers and divers received All-MPSF awards.

Yoshida, who has coached swimming at Cal Poly for 22 years, was named head coach three years ago.

A group of swimmers brought their concerns about Yoshida’s alleged abusive and threatening behavior to the university vice president for student affairs in March, according to the Orange County Register. The campus then hired a consultant to look into the allegations in May.

Of the 24 reviews for Yoshida on 2aDays, 88% are extremely negative with students calling him incompetent and abusive.

“Honestly if I could I would give him zero stars,” one reviewer wrote. “He was a terrible coach and the reason why I quit the team. I love diving and still do and he wasn’t even my coach. In fact he had our INCREDIBLE dive coach fired for NO REASON. He is very disrespectful and will be rude directly to your face. Our team even attempted to get him fired the past year.”

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One would think a couple of good examples of the coach’s alleged misbehaviors would be part of the CCN piece. More information about Cal Poly’s alleged coverup/inaction would be helpful too.

Sad to see some of these comments. I’m assuming most of you don’t know how much hard work and training swimmers go through year round. Not like football or baseball. WAY harder! They are swimming miles everyday in the pool. 3-5 hours a day. 2 weeks off a year. That’s it. No time with friends and family through high school. Many have already had to deal with crappy coaches from the time they are very young. “Suck it up buttercup”?? You try to swim 2 hours in the morning before high school classes at 5am and then 3 hours after school, weight lift in the gym after that, go home and do homework for AP courses, and get 4-6 hours of sleep every single day!! And for those commenting that’s it’s some spoiled kids. Learn the facts. These were abused kids and the athletic director turned a blind eye for years. Swimmers are some of the hardest working, under recognized, under appreciated athletes. And I bet most of them had straight A’s in high school. Find some empathy people.

Dang, I was on a Swim Team as I kid. All my coaches yelled at us! Their way of encouraging us to move faster!! I don’t know if these complainers are just being ridiculous? Are they the kids that got a trophy just for participating? Or was this coach degrading, swearing at them, I mean really abusive?

These kids have never been told what to do, how to do it, and that if you don’t you will be kicked off the team.

Threatening and abusive I think not.

First, I’m curious why this was initially reported in Orange County, and not here?

Second…suck it up, buttercup, life gets worse from now on. If you cannot handle a Coach yelling at you today, how will you handle HR telling you that your recreational marijuana use has degraded your work performance to the point of no longing requiring your employment?

The entire point of a Coach screaming and cajoling, is to push you to your best. These kids, who apparently have never been told “no”, decided that someone is being so mean to them, they were too “hurt” to record it for Tik-Tok, or Instagram, or You Tube shorts, or even get a “feel sorry for me” Tweet. How devastating for them!

Little wonder why Military recruiting is at lower levels than before WWII…

Most likely an over indulged Orange County brat wining to their family about the mean coach that yells at swim practice.

You’re both wrong. Super hard working, straight A kids. Abusive coach. You have obviously never met a D1 swimmer.

A verbally and emotionally abusive coach. Never heard of such a thing. Probably good that these swimmers never competed for Vince Lombardi.

Something seems off, good enough named head coach but such a large percentage of negative reviews. Seems to be another case of the worst being promoted, which is common in government, police and education, plus a several month paid vacation, too cough cough investigate.

If Cal Poly got rid of everyone with negative reviews, there would few instructors working there and zero administrators.

Interesting thought, zero or near zero administrators and guess what no constant raises in tutions to pay bloated admin compensation, a president making a normal salary, more money for instructors, and the down side is??

( Sigh….. ) Here we go again….. Any guesses on how this will end up?

The end will include: 1) total media blackout by calpoly, 2) no admission of wrong doing or of anything bad happening by calpoly, 3) giant severance paycheck for the coach, 4) absolutely nothing for the victims.

Well, hang on. These aren’t sexual allegations. He’s being accused of being a complete jerk. Let’s wait and see before we use “victims.”

That’s not how calpoly works. The “crime” the coach committed from calpoly’s standpoint is that he’s hurting calpoly’s image of being happy “learn-by-doingland”. Treat students like sh*t: no big deal; hurt calpoly’s image: they’ll come after you real fast.