AD on Leave as District Investigates Weight Room Fight

Tabatha Wethal Headshot

An athletic director in California is on administrative leave while the district investigates allegations of a fight with a student-athlete. 

The Santa Maria Times reported that Cabrillo High School athletic director Gary West is accused of physically fighting with a student in the school’s weight room over the weekend.

On Monday, Lompoc Unified School District's deputy superintendent Bree Valla confirmed that the district is investigating the incident.

This is not the first time West, who was Cabrillo’s varsity head basketball coach from 2001-2016, has been the subject of an LUSD investigation, the Times reported.

In 2010, West was also a counselor at the school. At that time, he was involved in a verbal and physical confrontation with a student who suffered cuts when he crashed into a window, district officials said, as reported by the Times. Officials said the boy suffered a “puncture-type” wound on his shoulder and a cut on his forearm from broken glass.

The District Attorney's office investigated that incident and chose not to file charges against West. Both the coach and student were disciplined in 2010, according to LUSD. The student was suspended for two days. The district never released details about any disciplinary action taken against West, according to the Times report.

In 2016, West was fired as the boys basketball coach just before a game against rival Lompoc. About two weeks later, West was suddenly reinstated. The Santa Maria Times reported that LUSD never revealed the circumstances surrounding West's brief firing an then reinstatement, with current superintendent Trevor McDonald declining to comment on whether the coach was the subject of an investigation at the time.

Days after West was removed as head coach in 2016, his supporters went before the LUSD Board of Education and asked that West be reinstated. No specific reason was ever given by the board for West’s dismissal.

The 2016 basketball season ended when the Conquistadores won their fifth straight Los Padres League title, and it was then that West resigned as head coach, according to the Times.

In February 2019, West was hired as the school's athletic director. West has also been serving as the school's interim head varsity football coach since November.

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