Santa Margarita Coach Harry Welch before a practice. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)
Harry Welch, the only coach to win CIF state championship football bowl games at three schools, has been put on administrative leave at Santa Margarita High, 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 declined to comment further because it is considered a personnel matter.
Orange County Sheriff's Department deputies were at the school recently to investigate an allegation about a Dec. 13 incident involving a coach, according to sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino.
Santa Margarita received an anonymous email alleging that a player had been pushed or shoved by a coach, Amormino said. Investigators are still trying to determine whether there was a crime, but neither the alleged victim nor his parents have filed a complaint.
Attempts to reach Welch by telephone Monday were unsuccessful.
In his second season at Santa Margarita, and his 40th season as a coach, Welch guided the Eagles to the Southern Section Pac-5 Division championship and in mid-December capped the season with a Division I bowl victory.
Shortly after its bowl victory, Santa Margarita was back in the news over its handling of two football assistant coaches who had pleaded guilty to marijuana possession charges. After coaching during the season, they were eventually fired.