MAHOMET — The longtime girls' track and field coach at Mahomet-Seymour High School has been removed from her position under uncertain circumstances, leading to an outpouring of support for the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Famer.
Mahomet-Seymour School Board President Max McComb confirmed to The News-Gazette on Thursday that Bonnie Moxley has been replaced by Darren Tee on an interim basis. Moxley had held the girls' track and field leadership position for the last 20 years, and was also the M-S girls' cross-country coach. On the school's IHSA membership page, which was updated Thursday morning, Tee is listed as the girls' track and field coach. The girls' cross-country coach is listed as "TBA."
McComb, M-S athletic director Matt Hensley and M-S schools superintendent Lindsey Hall declined comment on Moxley's status, citing it as a personnel matter. Moxley previously announced she'd be retiring at the end of this academic year.
But several of Moxley's former pupils, including two who served under her as assistants, reached out to The News-Gazette this week to defend their coach.
Julie Gregory, a 2008 graduate and former Normal West assistant coach, said she speaks with Moxley on a regular basis. From what Gregory understands, "someone has come forth saying (Moxley) encouraged teens to have poor body image" centered around athletes losing weight.
"I think it's a misunderstanding," Gregory said. "Someone took the message the wrong way. Never once did Bonnie encourage poor body image.
"I've seen coaches turn their head when people have an eating disorder or are doing things the wrong way. She was never like that."
Gregory was one of more than a dozen of Moxley's former athletes to show their support and disagree with the idea that the coach fostered a negative environment.
Moxley could not be reached for comment as of Thursday night. According to Blayne Moxley — who also sent a message backing her mother — Bonnie Moxley "is going through a pretty hard time with all of this."
Moxley has led the Bulldogs to a sectional title in 12 of the last 16 girls' track and field seasons while helming her cross-country team to state three of the last seven years.
She was inducted into the ITCCCA Hall of Fame in January 2017.
M-S begins the outdoor season on March 31.