Local News

Past Comes Back To Haunt N.C. State Swim Coach

Posted November 25, 2003 10:51 a.m. EST

— A coach at North Carolina State University who also runs a popular swim club is off the job.

John Candler has had a successful, 35-year career as N.C. State's diving coach. He also runs Candler Swim Club in Raleigh. Now, he is the center of an investigation involving a child molestation conviction from 37 years ago.

It surfaced in an e-mail last week from a woman named Jane Schneider.

"I still felt that I had a moral obligation to alert the university and also the community at large, if I could," said Schneider, who spoke to WRAL over the phone Tuesday from Michgan.

Schneider said Candler was her swim coach when she was 13 and that she knew the victim in the 1966 case against the coach.

"I was to be called as a late witness to the case," she said. "But I never had to take the stand because Mr. Candler pleaded guilty."

Schneider thought Candler left the country -- until she recently stumbled across his N.C. State coaching bio.

Candler's attorney, Jack Nichols, did not deny the Candlers are one and the same.

"He's frustrated," Nichols said. "You would be frustrated, too. Somebody dredged up something from 30 years ago, and it's been thrown in his face."

But this is not the first time Candler has dealt with molestation charges. In 1985, as N.C. State diving coach, he pleaded guilty to molestation charges involving a 15-year-old Wake County girl.

The university did not say Tuesday what, if anything, it knew about any earlier convictions.

"The people who hired John back then aren't around," Nichols said. "Who knows what they knew then other than John?"

Candler received probation for the 1985 conviction.

Nichols said he advised Candler not to speak publicly about this latest case. For the time being, Candler is on paid administrative leave while the school investigates.