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Football: Harry Welch is reinstated as coach at Santa Margarita

Harry Welch

After nearly four weeks on administrative leave, Harry Welch has been reinstated as football coach at Santa Margarita, the school announced in an email to families Wednesday.

Diocese of Orange spokesman Stephen Bohannon also confirmed Welch's return.

Welch had been placed on administrative leave last month after the school and Diocese said it would review an allegation. Orange County sheriff investigators were at the school after an anonymous tip that Welch allegedly pushed or shoved a player in December. The Orange County district attorney's office declined to file charges.

Santa Margarita, which won the Pac-5 Division championship and CIF state championship Division I bowl game, has faced scrutiny and controversy after three assistant coaches in the football program were dismissed since the bowl game because of drug possession charges.

According to OCVarsity.com, the email states: “As you may be aware, Coach Harry Welch has been on administrative leave pending a joint review of a situation reported by a parent to the Principal’s office. School administration, (Orange) diocesan officials and local law enforcement have reviewed this matter. That comprehensive review has resulted in returning Coach Welch to his position and duties as head football coach. The safety of our students was paramount in our review and will always remain our first consideration.”

Standout quarterback Johnny Stanton tweeted Wednesday afternoon:  “Coach Welch being back is great news for the school as a whole. I was tired of everyone and their mother having an opinion about it and … deciding it was their responsibility to tell it to me.”

RELATED:

It's time for Harry Welch to resign

-- Eric Sondheimer

Photo: Harry Welch in 2010. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

 
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