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Football: Harry Welch placed on administrative leave [Updated]

January 23, 2012 |  9:25 am


Santa Margarita football Coach Harry Welch has been placed on administrative leave, Diocese of Orange spokesman Stephen Bohannon said  Monday.

The leave began  Friday and will continue until the school and diocese complete an investigation. Bohannon said he could not comment further because it was a personnel matter.

Jim Amormino, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department, said personnel were called to the school recently to investigate an allegation about a Dec. 13 incident.

Amormino said an anonymous email was sent to the school a few days later by a third party alleging that a coach pushed or shoved a player. Investigators are trying to determine whether there was a crime. There are also conflicting statements, Amormino said.

Welch is the only coach in state history to guide three schools  to CIF football state championship bowl victories, including this past season, when Santa Margarita won the Pac-5 and Division I bowl championship.

Santa Margarita received criticism in December over its handling of two assistant coaches who were eventually fired after it was revealed they had pleaded guilty to marijuana possession charges.

Welch completed his second season as coach at Santa Margarita after earlier coaching at St. Margaret's and Canyon Country Canyon.

Attempts to reach Welch on Friday and Monday have been unsuccessful.

-- Eric Sondheimer

Photo: Harry Welch. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times.