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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Former WSU assistant tennis coach booked for child sex crimes

Garima Thapa
Max Wheeler, the assistant coach for the women’s tennis team at Wichita State, watches the match against Tulsa on April 8, 2024. Wheeler was recently arrested for aggravated indecent liberties with a child, criminal sodomy with a child and electronic solicitation.

Former Wichita State University assistant tennis coach Max Wheeler was arrested and booked over the weekend for multiple charges of sex crimes against a child.

According to KAKE, Wheeler was booked for four counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, two counts of criminal sodomy with a child and two counts of electronic solicitation. All of the charges are for acts with a child between the ages of 14 and 16.

Since Wheeler’s arrest, Wichita State Athletics has pulled Wheeler’s bio and stories mentioning Wheeler from its website.

Lainie Mazzullo, the university’s director of communication, said Wheeler has not been associated with the university since April.

“The university is aware that former assistant tennis coach Max Wheeler was recently arrested for criminal misconduct,” Mazzullo wrote in an email. “We do not comment on the employment of volunteers or employees. We can confirm, however, that we ensure all individuals performing coaching duties successfully pass a background check. We encourage members of the media to refer to official sources, such as law enforcement agencies, for further information.”

Wheeler’s arrest also marks the second Wichita State employee this year to be accused of sexual crimes against a child. 

In June, Christopher Garnier was charged with six counts of breach of privacy and sexual exploitation of a child under the age of 18. The former Barton School of Business director of executive education was caught using a hidden camera to secretly record a child under 18 dressing and undressing.

Wheeler was added to the WSU women’s tennis coaching staff in September 2023. Mazzullo described Wheeler’s role as a “temporary” and “limited” part-time position.

As of Tuesday morning, no charges against Wheeler have been filed.

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About the Contributors
Allison Campbell
Allison Campbell, Editor-in-Chief
Allison Campbell is the editor in chief of The Sunflower. Campbell is a senior pursuing a journalism and media production degree with a minor in English. She served as one of the news editors during the 2023-2024 year. Campbell hopes to pursue a career in writing or editing after graduation. They use any pronouns.
Garima Thapa
Garima Thapa, Photographer
Garima Thapa is a third-year photographer for The Sunflower.

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  • M

    MasonJul 9, 2024 at 10:27 pm

    HES SO GROSS. Heh has an obsession with kids he’s so nasty I went to school with him and he always preyed on the young ones even when he was a freshman he liked middle schoolers