After being acquitted of charges that he supplied steroids to University of South Carolina football players, Ute defensive coordinator Tom Gadd said he has can now get back to being a coach.
"This was a big win. It's like going undefeated," Gadd told the Deseret News, shortly after a U.S. District Court jury in Columbia, S.C., found Gadd not guilty of importing steroids into the state, encouraging football players to use steroids and helping to monitor the use of steroids.He continued, "I feel so good that maybe Monday I can walk in my office and start getting ready for the football season, and not worry about legal matters and allegations and newspaper stories."
Gadd was one of four former S.C. coaches and a Maryland man indicted in April by a federal grand jury. Gadd was the only one who pleaded innocent. "We knew going in we had an extremely tough case to try. We were, and are, convinced Tom Gadd is guilty as charged," said Assistant U.S. Attorney David Stephens in an Associated Press story.
The verdict was announced after the jury deliberated for just under two hours. Gadd, 42, was facing a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a $101,000 fine.
During the trial the jury heard testimony from Ute Coach Jim Fassel, U. of U. President Chase N. Peterson and team Doctor Burtis Evans. Gadd testified on Tuesday that the University of Utah monitored steroid use on a few football players in the late 70s and early 80s, under doctor's supervision.
Gadd was critical of federal authorities for not interviewing him before he was indicted. "If you're going New Mexico twice and fly to Texas, bring in doctors, etc., the least you could do is interview all the people you intend to indict," he said. "If someone had told me beforehand that this could happen, I would have said that's not true; that can't happen in America."
South Carolina's alleged steroid problems first came to light in an October Sports Illustrated story in which former Gamecock lineman Tommy Chaikin told of widespread use of the drug. Gadd, who was implicated in the story, heard the news on a Ute trip to Wyoming last October. "It's hard to say what the low point of my life was, but when I got on the bus after the Wyoming game and knowing what I was being accused of, it definitely has got to rank up there in the two or three worst days of my life. Then there was the sitting today and waiting for the jury . . . that was a real tense time."
Gadd's wife, Carol, was at the courtroom while their two sons stayed with friends in the Columbia area.
"I never did doubt him," said Fassel. "When the whole thing started it was so contradictory to what I know Tom believes in. It was so hard to believe."
Fassel also said that Gadd was "not acquitted on a loophole."
"When the attorneys summed up the facts at the end, I sat there and listened to what the prosecutor had to say, and they had no case. It was like, `Where's the beef?"'
Fassel said there was tension in the courtroom as the verdict was announced. "There were players behind Tom, associated coaches, adminstrators, family . . . everyone had their fingers crossed and they were holding hands."
Gadd was Utah's defensive coordinator 1977-82, during which time the U. looked into monitoring steroids. U. officials said Wednesday that by 1982 the handful of athletes that were using steroids had stopped. Gadd moved to South Carolina, where he coached four seasons.
The Ute assistant praised the support of Peterson, Fassel, Evans, Athletic Director Chris Hill and assistant A.D. Ned Alger. "The reason I came back to the University of Utah was because of the people there. I've never been prouder to be associated with the University of Utah. They believed in me the whole way."