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El Camino Real Fires Ganssle, Assistant

Maio, Hussey take over baseball team on interim basis after coaches allegedly make physical contact with one of their players.


WOODLAND HILLS — Baseball Coach Bob Ganssle and assistant Dave Siedelman of City Section power El Camino Real High were fired Tuesday after allegedly making physical contact with one of their players last week in a Babe Herman tournament game.

Mike Maio, who guided the Conquistadores to four City Championships in the 1990s before his retirement in 1998, was appointed interim co-coach with David Hussey, a counselor and the El Camino Real boys' soccer coach.

Principal Ron Bauer declined to discuss his reason for the firings, citing "personnel issues."

But reserve outfielder Julian Unruh said Tuesday that Siedelman and Ganssle touched him during an emotional confrontation near the conclusion of El Camino Real's 5-4 loss to Valencia on April 9, after Unruh was picked off in the final inning.

Siedelman, in his first year as a varsity assistant, declined comment. Ganssle, in his third year as coach, expressed surprise at Bauer's action.

"Dave and I were both caught off guard," Ganssle said. "We haven't done anything coaching we haven't done our whole careers."

Ganssle and Siedelman met with Bauer on Tuesday morning and were informed of their dismissals. They will remain teachers at the school, Bauer said.

Maio and Hussey were asked to take over in time for El Camino Real's West Valley League game Tuesday at Chatsworth. Players were informed shortly before boarding the team bus.

Stunned parents learned of the coaching change at the game.

Maio, 61, said he had no warning he would be asked to take over as co-coach.

"At 11:30 a.m., the administration said they needed two coaches to go to the game," he said. "It's a very uncomfortable situation. I'm going to do what my boss asks me to do. Something obviously happened and the administration felt a change was needed."

Most El Camino Real players declined comment after their 5-1 loss to Chatsworth, saying school officials instructed them not to speak with the media.

Bauer was scheduled to fly to Alaska to join the school's academic decathlon team, which will compete for the national championship this weekend.

Assistant Principal Bob Marks said Bauer began an investigation into the alleged touching incident on Monday after returning from spring break.

"The situation arose very quickly and Mr. Bauer acted on it," he said.

El Camino Real, which lost to Kennedy in the City final last year at Dodger Stadium, has a 9-9 record, including 2-5 in league play.

Maio, a physical education teacher at the school, has agreed to become an assistant football coach at Westlake Village Oaks Christian. He said he intends to honor his commitment for spring football practice and will try to work around his baseball schedule.

Marks said El Camino Real will take applications for the baseball coaching position after the season. Chatsworth Coach Tom Meusborn said he will recommend assistant Matt LaCour for the job.

"We've had four nationally ranked teams the last four years, and Matt joined us four years ago," Meusborn said. "If people don't pick him up, they're absolutely foolish."

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