“My wonderful, strong, amazingly compassionate brother John Coughlin took his own life earlier today. I have no words,” his sister, Angela Laune, wrote on Facebook. “I love you John.”
SafeSport does not disclose allegations during active investigations.
“While I wish I could speak freely about the unfounded allegations levied against me, the SafeSport rules prevent me from doing so since the case remains pending,” Coughlin wrote in an email to USA Today on Jan. 7. “I note only that the SafeSport notice of allegation itself stated that an allegation in no way constitutes a finding by SafeSport or that there is any merit to the allegation.”
Coughlin won pairs national championships in 2011 and 2012 skating with Caitlin Yankowskas and Caydee Denney in respective years. He retired from professional skating and took up coaching and broadcasting in 2014.
Before his death, Coughlin was ascendant as an administrator in national figure skating, serving as chair of the International Skating Union’s athletes commission and a member of the single and pair skating technical committee. He was instrumental, according to the Kansas City Star, in bringing the U.S. Figure Skating Championships to the city, his hometown, in 2017.
“The John I knew was a big loving teddy bear with an infectious laugh,” Dalilah Sappenfield, Coughlin’s coach, wrote on Facebook. “It was so very difficult for him and all those who loved him to see his name and reputation being dragged through the mud these past few weeks, without any due process.
"We spoke everyday just numb and shocked about how things were being misconstrued on social media. It was so very sad and tragic for me to see his life turned upside down in a matter of weeks, to the point where he felt alone, lost, and desperate that he no longer had it in him to fight.”