UNCW women’s soccer coach on administrative leave over allegations

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The head coach for the UNCW Women’s Soccer team has been placed on administrative leave with pay.

WWAY learned Wednesday he has been on administrative leave since early December.

WWAY found tweets posted last summer and more in November and December after the #MeToo movement started, accusing Coach Paul Cairney of sexual misconduct at a UNCW soccer camp.

Two days after the most recent tweet, the school placed him on administrative leave. It is unclear at this time if it was in response to these tweets.

According to the UNCW website, Cairney has been with the soccer team since 1994. He became the head coach in 1996.


UNCW spokeswoman Janine Iamunno said in a statement “the university is aware of the allegations against Coach Paul Cairney.”

Iamunno would not specify what the allegations are.

She added he was placed on leave in order for the university to conduct a personnel inquiry. Iamunno said this is not a disciplinary action.

If you know any information, you are asked to contact the university.

WWAY reached out to Coach Cairney’s attorney, Bruce Mason, who responded to the allegations Wednesday night saying:

“The allegation against Coach Paul Cairney is false. The accusation alleges an incident occurring in 1994. This claim was fully and thoroughly investigated by the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Department in 2007. Paul cooperated in that investigation.

UNCW is required to take seriously all allegations of this nature. Coach Cairney is fully cooperating with the process and will continue to do so to its completion. Paul is very grateful for the outpouring of support from family and friends.”



WWAY also spoke to Lt. Jerry Brewer of the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office about that investigation from 2007.

Brewer said they are working on getting information about the case and will have more information on Thursday.

Categories: Local, New Hanover, Sports

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