The athletic director at a Catholic high school in California is being accused by a former coach of verbal abuse, making threats and devaluing the school’s girls’ sports programs.

Neil Spanier, former coach for the St. Monica Catholic High School girls' basketball program filed a complaint last month against the school, its athletic director Frank Cruz and the archdiocese of Los Angeles. Spanier accuses Cruz of misconduct and alleges the school and archdiocese condoned his actions. 

According to the Santa Monica Daily Press, Cruz had been fired from USC back in 2013 for violating NCAA rules that limit how much time athletes can spend in coach-led activities. St. Monica Parents and students alleged that Cruz failed to support the girls’ basketball team during the 2017-18 season, resulting in multiple girls quitting the team.

Multiple parents described Cruz as rude, aggressive and demeaning, according to Spanier’s complaint.

Spanier alleges that he was on his own in supporting the girls’ team, organizing and funding bonding events  and getting blowback from Cruz anytime he was asked to help with the team. Spanier said Cruz spent all his time on the boys’ team and even failed to provide Spanier with the stipend he was promised before he was hired. Spanier also alleges that he was never reimbursed for the money he spent on the team. 

When Spanier told Cruz he could no longer coach the team because of the toxic environment Cruz had created, Spanier alleged that Cruz screamed curses at him, blocked him from leaving the room and threatened him with physical violence within earshot of students. 

Spanier’s complaint is seeking damages for pain and humiliation, as well as money Spanier says he lost while coaching the team.

Andy Berg is Executive Editor of Athletic Business.