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Mission Viejo Water Polo Coach Has No Game

The accusations against Mission Viejo water polo coach Trevor McMunn.

If we learned anything from Domique Strauss-Kahn, it’s that the court of public opinion is the least satisfying one in which to win a conviction.

I mention this to caution a rush to collective judgment against Mission Viejo High School's recently suspended water polo coach Trevor McMunn.

McMunn is of another coach and a student player. He denies their claims.

He has been .

Now the facts (as we know them so far) don’t raise the suspicion that coach McMunn is burdened with an excess of good judgment or charm. It also seems quite clear that he needs to refine his game if he’s going to have a shot with any future assistant coaches.

His apparent ineptitude with adult women is really not all that troubling. I have been ham-fisted on more than one occasion with women of an appropriate age and will not judge any man for his good and honest effort to find companionship.

The serious problem is whether or not coach McMunn was making inappropriate sexual advances toward the female students. And on that count, it’s much better to withhold our judgment.

The complaints that he seem very weak and do little to bolster the girl's accusations.

The fact that one of the assistant coaches objected that this "pushing off" strategy was illegal persuades me further that the complaints in this particular matter are meritless, since instructing players in illegal moves that commonly go unnoticed by officials is part of teaching players how to compete at a higher level.

Water polo is a legalized blood sport, and instructing players in bloodletting is par for the course.

It may surprise you, however, that the one reported incident I find most troubling is the one most ambiguous on its face.

Offering one particular girl a childhood Superman backpack at a beach bonfire—inadvertent breast caress or not—clearly crossed that invisible line that circumscribes platonic sexual relationships.

It is this subtle overture, sweet and intentionally vulnerable (a childhood attachment) that smacks of inappropriate romantic design. It is the calculating intimate overture that is far more troubling than the ribald sexual jock-talk.

I know nothing more about the incident than I have learned in the published accounts, but as a longtime member of the human race, I am very familiar with the ways in which we cautiously survey a potentially hostile territory.

And the offer of private lessons with an attached childhood souvenir are tried-and-true reconnaissance methods.

Chris Lopez September 07, 2011 at 07:43 PM
Now as a fellow man we grow up knowing that there are limitations to advances that we can make towards the opposite sex, as well as when those advances are not appreciated. We also are taught quite early on that age is more then a number. The student being under the age of 18 is automatically off limits whether or not she makes the advance or he does. Also the fact that he persued a co-worker is very troubling. He was put in-charge of a program and should be held at a higher standard then anyone. He was the boss and it is completely inappropriate to try to take that any further. You keep your feelings to your self!!! There are laws in place goverening this for a reason. Yes typically they are more designed to protect a woman but they work both ways. By the age McMunn is you know the way the laws work. They are there for a reason. He shouldn't need to worry about not having game with an assistant coach. Theres no game to be had. Just like with the 17 year old, they are off limits!!! If he wanted companionship he should have looked somewhere else and after having been in buisness for quite some time I know that every man knows this! He screwed up and isn't man enough to face it and is now suffering because of his own lack of intelligence. The girls were right and fully with-in the law to do what they did and should be applauded for having enough guts to stand up and do what was right!
Peter Schelden (Editor) September 07, 2011 at 07:57 PM
Hi Chris, thanks for dropping by. Just a reminder to everyone that McMunn denies the accusations, and that the school district has yet to make a decision about this. The police are looking into it, but we have not heard the results of their investigation yet.
Jeff Robinson September 22, 2011 at 11:00 PM
It's quite ironic how Saddleback Valley District works. They leave comments and answer all the questions they are asked when it feeds their ethos but when it came to answering questions that made the district seem more than unprofessional at how they handled this case, they chose to ignore them; Dr.Gatfield was suddenly at a meeting, conveniently keeping him away from the interviews that would ruin the "high standards" reputation that Mission Viejo High School has "carried on" throughout the years. It is perturbing to know that Mission would rather appear like a good school than take the actions a good school would. Remember that the school officials did not report reasonable suspicions of child sexual abuse to authorities after days of the coach and student putting in a complaint. If MVHS is so worried about their appearance they should just answer all the questions asked. Don’t make the students and parents more suspicious of what goes on in that shady office by leaving them to answer the questions. The school system is corrupt even the students know that.
Jeff Robinson September 22, 2011 at 11:01 PM
Walk around campus and look at all the empty classrooms they have because of the teachers that were cut; however, when you turn the corner, you see those new “Quick Cafés” everywhere. Oh so that’s where our taxes go? That’s how MVHS plans on improving their plummeting test scores? Teachers with 95% pass rates in the AP classes such as Ms.Naber are “laid off” all for quick cafés? Classrooms do not even have the sufficient number of desks to fit the number of students in the classrooms. Walk into room 210, Mr. Roelen’s room during first period and count how many kids are sitting in black fold out chairs because of increasing class sizes. Their first priority is their outside appearance. Neither safety, nor academics are a priority at Mission Viejo High School. Mission has had problems throughout the year when it comes to what authority figures are hired, especially as coaches.They turn a blind eye to when a student complains of sexual harassment and take weeks to actually place the coach on administrative leave but as soon as they get the chance, they fire the good coaches such as Russell Rowlands. The people who work at the school need to know their rights, and in McMunn’s case, their limits.
Jeff Robinson September 22, 2011 at 11:03 PM
It’s obvious why Matt Tipton was really fired. He’s a whistleblower and he has his rights. The only things Mission Viejo High school is good at is appearing like a good school and stripping students and faculty of their rights. Take a look at the wall to the administration office by the staff lot and look at the last time Mission received an award for top 100 schools in California, Blue Ribbon, or anything else. It will be a long time from now before it’s awarded anything new unless under new administration.
Elizabeth Michael September 22, 2011 at 11:54 PM
Coach Mcmunn is gone thanks to you and your team so stop bitching and complaining. you got what you wanted so leave this alone. If you hate Mission Viejo High school so much then why don't you leave? Mission is an amazing school and has an amazing sports program. Coach Mcmunn is a great coach and you obviously cant see that. What your team has done to Coach Mcmunn is awful and you guys should be ashamed of your self. There is always 3 sides to the story there is yours, Coach Mcmunns and the right story, we will never know what the real story is but since coach Mcmunn is gone, you and your team need to drop this and move on! Coach Mcmunn is moving on to a new and better life and so should you.
Kiana Smith September 23, 2011 at 01:35 AM
Just because Mission has a great reputation for its sports and academics doesn't mean that it is amazing. Schools are suffering from the economy just as everyone else is. The new edition (Quick Cafes) probably was a stupid decision that the school decided to get. The school has ever growing class sizes and are making other cut backs. Do you really expect all of the unsatisfied students to leave Mission? Mission has some great coaches and some great programs; like everything else, it has flaws. Coach Mcmunn is gone and thats it. The entire water polo team did not do this to him as you have said. Some people liked him and others obviously had problems with him, but his life is not ruined. People go through worse things and end up okay. Whether the accusations are true or not, they happened. If you are accusing the water polo players or Mcmunn, it doesnt matter.
Jimmy Calls September 23, 2011 at 03:30 AM
The students are NOT at fault here! Wether or not the accusations are true we will never know but, what does this poor girl and coach have to gain by "making this up"?
Julie Flores September 23, 2011 at 04:08 AM
If a coach's actions make a child uncomfortable they should always speak up.
Verita Aquita September 23, 2011 at 04:34 PM
Absolutely true Julie, which is why the next chapter of this saga will be quite a stunner!
Verita Aquita January 18, 2013 at 03:24 AM
The next chapter of the saga begins Both ex-coaches have decided to sue the school district. Their suits can be read here: http://www.occourts.org SIMONE JOHNSON VS. SADDLEBACK VALLEY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT (30-2012-00609358-CU-WT-CJC ) MATTHEW TIPTON VS. SADDLEBACK VALLEY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT (30-2012-00609477-CU-OE-CJC)
Julie Flores January 18, 2013 at 05:01 PM
If I remember correctly, coaches and school administrators are required by law to report any claims by minors of misconduct. Coaches and staff are not supposed conduct their own investigation. I was given this information from other coaches unrelated to the school.
Verita Aquita January 18, 2013 at 07:43 PM
There are a few different dimensions to this situation which, at best, the Patch neglected to clarify, and at worse, deliberately conflated. Legally, 'misconduct' does need to be reported to the proper authorities, and it seems (although the reporting is confused on this point) that law enforcement was involved and did not find evidence of 'misconduct' that could be substantiated. With respect to the investigation of the school (once again the reporting is confused here) the issue seems to have been that of sexual harassment, which the district did have the right to investigate. I hope the Patch follows through and makes sense of this given the many dimensions presented in their reporting and how easily these different dimensions can be confused. The ex-coaches' suit against the school district seems to be an interesting development.

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