Former NIU coach claims foul play

By Carl Ackerman

When former men’s gymnastics coach Carlos Silvestre finished coaching last season, he knew there would not be a gymnastics program this year, but he didn’t know his graduate assistant job and stipend would not be available.

Silvestre said he was told by Cary Groth, senior associate athletic director, he would keep his position this fall.

“She (Groth) had promised me a position as a graduate assistant. She said she needed approval from Gerald O’Dell (NIU athletic director), but said it would be no problem,” said Silvestre.

Both Groth and O’Dell deny Silvestre’s claims.

“Carlos was never promised anything, nor do we owe him anything. We even paid him an additional stipend last year,” O’Dell said.

“They’re probably trying to cover up,” said Silvestre. “They probably didn’t think the newspaper would find out about it.

“I think they have no interest in keeping me here. Maybe they have nothing to gain from me since they dropped men’s gymnastics. I have tried to talk to O’Dell, but I can never get a hold of him. It seems like he’s trying to run away from me,” Silvestre said.

During the summer, the two parties did not communicate about the situation.

“When I went to Cary’s office the week before school, she said during the summer a letter was sent to offer me administrative work, and since there was no response, I was not considered,” Silvestre said.

Silvestre said he did not receive a letter and Groth denies telling Silvestre a letter was sent.

“Since we hadn’t talked to him all summer, O’Dell didn’t know what his plans were and neither did I,” said Groth. “He didn’t show up to staff meetings this summer. I think he was looking for other jobs.”

Silvestre said he did not know of any staff meetings. He said when he was the head coach he would attend the meetings, but stopped after the sport was dropped.

Silvestre also said he had been looking for jobs during the summer as well as for the future.

“When he came back the week before, I was surprised,” said Groth. “He was supposed to let us know what he was doing. We didn’t think he was coming back.”

Groth said she feels she’s doing the best she can with Silvestre.

“When the program was dropped, the funding for the program ceases. We want to help him as much as possible,” said Groth.

Silvestre plans to go back to his home in Brazil very soon. He has approximately one more semester of studies to complete his masters degree but plans to take at least one semester off.

Silvestre said he will be back sooner or later to continue his research studies at NIU.

“I can’t live by the errors of others,” Silvestre said.