High school coach to miss season opener because middle school said he was on campus

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

The head coach of a prominent Los Angeles area Catholic football program has been suspended for the opening game of the 2013 season for doing something which many public schools host as a matter of good practice: He showed up on a middle school campus to talk with future students.

Ventura St. Bonaventure Todd Therrien — SaintBonaventure.com
Ventura St. Bonaventure Todd Therrien — SaintBonaventure.com

As first reported by the Los Angeles Times, issues with the ethical nature of access for Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure School football coach Todd Therrien were raised after he visited a Ventura middle school and asked students interested in playing football at St. Bonaventure to come over for a talk.

Perhaps more strikingly, Therrien's availability to speak with students was broadcast over the school's public address system, ensuring that everyone in the entire school knew that he was on campus and eager to talk about future prospects. Together the general tone of the trip and PA announcement was enough to convince some that Therrien was actively on campus solely to recruit athletes.

That announcement drew the ire of some connected with the middle school at which Therrien made his visit. Perhaps unsurprisingly, someone reported the incident to the California Interscholastic Federation's Southern Section office, which in turn recommended the single-game suspension.

While Therrien has so far accepted the punishment for "recruiting" with aplomb, there are reasons why he could be skeptical of his rather significant ban, which will keep him from the school's season opener against Los Angeles (Calif.) Garfield High come fall 2012. As it turns out, Therrien was only on the campus because he was invited by another former St. Bonaventure coach who now serves as an administrator at the middle school.

If anything, that additional St. Bonaventure connection may have only exacerbated Therrien's chance of any appeal, leaving the 33-year-old coach to hope whichever assistant takes the team's reins against a formidable Garfield squad next fall can get the most out of a team he may have been working overtime -- illegally so -- to improve.

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