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Winona State hires Gunn to investigate former coach

Winona State University men's basketball Coach Mike Leaf talks to the team during the NSIC college basketball tournament in 2007. Leaf was placed on administrative leave on June 22, the day after the university received a complaint about his actions. Leaf was still on leave when he notified the university June 26 he would be resigning effective June 30.

WINONA — Winona State University has hired Steven Gunn as the independent investigator who will complete the investigation of former men's basketball coach Mike Leaf.

Leaf led the Warriors to national championships in 2006 and 2008, but resigned abruptly on June 26 after allegedly making unwanted sexual advances toward a player .

The program's all-time leader in wins was placed on administrative leave June 22, one day after the unidentified player filed a complaint with Winona State. The situation was being investigated internally until last week, when former players raised concerns that WSU administration was either aware or should have been aware that Leaf had issues with alcohol.

WSU President Scott Olson said that the university changed course in order to appease a concerned, interested public. The timeline and cost of the independent investigator remain unknown.

"I want to make sure that we have the complete confidence of the community, the complete confidence of all the employees and especially the confidence of all our students," Olson said on Aug. 25. "It seems like having an independent investigator take it from here … makes sure we've done this the right way."


Gunn is a Saint Paul-based attorney specializing in employment law. Prior to establishing his private practice, he served in the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General for 40 years, including four years as deputy attorney general for civil regulation. He specializes in issues related to public sector employment law and policy, including harassment and ethical conduct issues.

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