Former University of California-San Diego men’s rowing coach Geoff Bond is accused of verbally abusing at least one of the athletes, who has a family, after his child took his own life.
Brian Lilley Jr., who was on the team from 2019-2021, was 19 years old when he took his own life. Her parents and a friend, Parker Kinney, told The Associated Press in a story published Wednesday that they believe it was the result of Bond’s verbal abuse.
“This guy basically broke Brian’s self-respect, threatening to kick Brian off the team. It doesn’t take a sports psychologist to tell you how harmful it is,” Brian Lilley Sr. said.
Brenda and Brian Lilley Sr. filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Bond and the school, alleging the coach mistreated their son because he kept the rower on the team despite the coach’s allegations of sexual abuse against the athlete. contested the decision to allow him to stay. Brian’s parents believe Bond verbally abused their son, leading to his suicide in January 2021.
“I felt like they were trying to sweep the whole sexual-assault allegations under the rug, and a lot of kids had legitimate concerns about it, and felt like, ‘This is such a mess,'” Kinney told the AP. “A lot of guys didn’t talk about it. Brian talked about it, so Geoff took revenge on him. Brian’s main concern was that it would hurt the integrity of the team, and I agreed with that.”
Bond’s defense team filed a motion to dismiss Lilly’s case, saying coach Brian Jr. had not seen Lilly in the nine months before his death and that the coach had reached out to see if the rower would return to school during the pandemic. in San Diego from the East Coast where he lived.
Gary Champagne, a freshman at Cal, defended the coach for Bond in 2002-03.
“I really liked his coaching style and I feel like it’s a great fit for young college players,” Champagne told the AP.
The Lillies said their son had never had a history of mental illness before rowing at school.
UC San Diego declined to comment to the AP, citing the pending litigation. Bond left school on January 13.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free, confidential crisis counseling you can call If you live outside the five boroughs, you can call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 988 or visit: SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.