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.

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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