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Newport Harbor loses Lynch, '09 wins

Sailors' head coach is suspended for two weeks after discovery that team used an academically ineligible player last year.

September 14, 2010|By Matt Szabo, matthew.szabo@latimes.com
(Daily Pilot File…)

Last month, Newport Harbor High boys' water polo coach Jason Lynch said the Sailors had moved on when Jon Walters left. This came after Walters, the team's heralded freshman from 2009, also decided to move on — to Mater Dei.

Neither progression has happened as planned.

Lynch has been suspended as coach for two weeks and the Sailors have had to forfeit all but one of their 2009 victories because last year's team had an academically ineligible player, Newport Harbor Principal Michael Vossen said Tuesday.

The Tars lose their 2009 Sunset League championship and 25 of their 26 wins, including their CIF Southern Section Division I playoff victories.

Newport Harbor advanced to the Division I final before falling to El Toro.

"Basically the season is forfeited, save one game," Vossen said. "It's disappointing for the players and the program."

Vossen would not name the player or elaborate on his academic ineligibility, but said the discovery was made as the player's parents tried to transfer him to another school.

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The only player who fits that description is Walters, whose move to the Monarchs has been stopped by the CIF Southern Section, although Mater Dei is appealing the decision.

Vossen said Lynch has been suspended since Friday and it ends Sept. 24, when the Sailors will be in the midst of the South Coast Tournament.

The suspension was recommended by CIF and the school accepted it, Vossen said.

Lynch did not return phone calls Tuesday.

"I don't think there's ever good timing [to have a coach suspended]," Vossen said. "But that's what needed to happen."

Lynch's assistant, Corey Delahunt, is the interim coach, Vossen said.

Walters scored 24 goals last year, including three in the Division I final against El Toro.

But he left Newport Harbor in March.

"We're definitely turning the page," Lynch said last month. "I'm quite frankly not really concerned if he plays for [Mater Dei]."

Sailors Athletic Director Mike Zimmerman declined to comment on the sanctions, deferring to Vossen.

"We have been told to have no comment," Zimmerman said. "We want to keep our jobs."

CIF Southern Section spokesman Thom Simmons would not identify the player in question or elaborate on his eligibility.

"That's something you would need to get from the school," Simmons said in an e-mail. "We won't be commenting on that."

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