Charlie Brande, who coached the Corona del Mar High School girls' volleyball team to a state championship in 1984, has been fired for insubordination by John Nicoll, superintendent of the Newport-Mesa School District, deputy superintendent Norman Loats said Thursday.
But according to Brande, a walk-on coach, his dismissal last Friday had little to do with insubordination and was based solely on several letters received by the superintendent's office accusing the coach of physically abusing players.
"I haven't done anything wrong," Brande, 38, said. "I demand a lot of physical and mental discipline from my players, but there are two things I will never do: hit a kid or swear."
Brande said the first letter complaining about him arrived at the superintendent's office in late July.
"It was written by the father of a girl who didn't play much her senior year," said Brande, who would not divulge names. He will meet with Nicoll and Loats on Tuesday in the hopes of regaining his position.
"He said by not playing his daughter I denied her a chance at a college scholarship. This guy wrote that that was child abuse."
The letter brought a warning from the superintendent's office, Brande said, and when three more letters reached the superintendent's office this school year, each complaining of physical abuse, Brande was fired.
"It was my understanding that he had an agreement with superintendent Nicoll and he let down his side of it," Loats said, refusing further comment until after Tuesday's meeting.
Brande said he was aware of only one complaint this year. He said it involved a player whom he grabbed at the shoulders to ask why she was not at practice.
"She was just hanging around, talking to her boyfriend. I said, 'Where are you supposed to be?' She said, 'At practice.' I said, 'You better get there or get out of my volleyball program.' I don't stand for that kind of stuff," Brande said.
Brande's dismissal has left at least one athletic official at Corona del Mar upset.
"I don't think there's any reason for it," said Ron Davis, Corona del Mar athletic director. "We want him back. His entire team has signed a petition to get him back, but right now our hands are tied."