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Santa Margarita Coach Fired After Cocaine Arrest

Kevin Orton, 48, was parked in a limo in the middle of the street when deputies offered to help. Instead, they added more angst to a football program that has been marred since winning a championship.

The star-crossed off-season of Santa Margarita Catholic's football program took another wild turn over the weekend when an assistant junior varsity coach was charged with possession and being under the influence of narcotics. He was fired by the school on Wednesday.

Kevin Lawrence Orton, 48, was wearing his Santa Margarita football polo shirt Saturday when deputies noticed his 2006 Cadillac limousine stopped in the road. The limo, in the No. 2 lane on Rancho Viejo Road near Trabuco Creek Road in San Juan Capistrano, didn't have its flashers on. 

Deputies approached to assist the apparently disabled vehicle, but according to Orange County Sheriff spokesman Jim Amormino, noticed a white powdery substance in a coffee cup on the console, a $20 bill rolled into a cylinder with traces of white on it, and driver Orton showing signs of being under the influence.

Deputies conducted a field test on the substance and found it tested positive for cocaine, authorities said.

Orton was an assistant on the junior varsity team in 2011 but also involved in scouting for the varsity program. He was hired as an assistant golf coach in July 2010 (golf is a spring sport).

Stephen Bohannon, spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, said the school became aware of Orton's arrest on Monday and placed him on unpaid administrative leave; he was fired Wednesday.

Here is a statement sent to SMCHS parents from president Paul Carey and principal Ray Dunne:

In the interest of making you aware of a recent situation involving one of our coaches, we wanted to inform you that effective today Kevin Orton, a JV football and frosh-soph boys golf coach, is no longer employed at Santa Margarita Catholic High School.

Orton was arrested in San Juan Capistrano early Saturday, Feb. 4, on suspicion of possession and being under the influence of a controlled substance. Following the arrest, Orton was immediately placed on leave and terminated Wednesday.

According to court records, in March 1998, a Kevin Lawrence Orton was  charged with possession of a controlled substance but the case was dismissed. In May 2003, he was charged with battery and assault. Those charges were dismissed, but he did plead guilty to disturbing the peace.

Orton's arrest is the latest black mark since the end of a football season in which the team won the Southern Section Pac-5 title and then the California State Division I Bowl Championship.

, who just finished his second season with Santa Margarita and has gone 22-5 with a program that had won only six games in the two seasons prior to his hiring, remains on administrative leave. He was placed on leave on Jan. 20 while Orange County Sheriff deputies as well as the Diocese of Orange and SMCHS conducted a review of an incident in which he was alleged to have shoved or pushed a student-athlete on Dec. 13, between the Pac-5 title game and the State Bowl. The with assault, but  for his return; Bohannon said the review is ongoing.

The Welch incident came to light after two of his varsity assistants, Sean Coen and Robert Hendricks, to misdemeanor possession of marijuana early in the season.

Initially, the school defended the two men's inclusion on the coaching staff, but backtracked and fired the men after it was revealed that it was a plea deal and new information had become available. Coen, Hendricks and St. Margaret offensive line coach Charles Spann had originally been charged with felony counts of cultivation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale before taking the plea deal.

Flannery4 February 09, 2012 at 12:37 AM
Holy cow, what's next?! In just a couple of months or so, three Santa Margarita football coaches have been busted for drugs, and the head coach gets investigated by the DA and then gets put on administrative leave. This school needs to start cracking down on this program pronto. Was winning a state championship worth the shame these guys have brought on the school?
RSM Dad February 09, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Clearly SMCHS and the Diocese of Orange have a real cultural problem in this arena, and it starts with the administration responsible for hiring these coaches. There needs to be significant changes within this administration. Why is the athletic director still there? Why is the school president still there?
OCResident123 February 09, 2012 at 04:41 PM
How sad. What else can possibly happen SM this year? As a former employee of the school, and one who worked hard to give that school a good reputation, I am disgusted at all of this negative news. The school is part of the Diocese of Orange...why hasn't the Diocese fired Welch, or the president of the school? What are they waiting for? All they are doing is ruining the future of this school in the community and hurting the students, faculty and staff that work hard every day. I hope the current parents demand action from the Diocese and the school administration.
Donna February 09, 2012 at 08:17 PM
This is really sad for all the parents who have paid so much money to go to a school that they thought would give their kids a better quality of education. The Catholilc church has done it again, covering up scandals, not acting when something needed to be done and nobody taking responsibility for making changes. Dunn should be fired along with Welch and a new administration and coaching staff should be hired. All current teachers, administrators and coaches there should be immediately drug tested and ongoing random drug testing should occur for coaching staff in particular to maintain employment. The parents should have these rights and say so because we pay their salary and they chose to work there. We put our kids safety and lives in their hands while they are supposed to be coaching them. I wonder how many times these coaches were loaded while coaching.... and who else is involved...and how many students there bought drugs from these guys...
concerned parent February 09, 2012 at 10:20 PM
It's truly a sad time in the 20 year history of Santa Margarita Catholic High School. As parent of 2 children--one a current student there & the other an SM graduate, I am praying that no evidence comes out that any children were physically harmed as a result of these coach's actions. It is pathetic that Welch was allowed to come into this school with selfish motivations to win a 3rd state championship while the rest of the school community stands by like sacraficial lambs! It's even more pathetic that the Diocese hasn't fired Welch, Kerry & Dunn already.....Kudos to St. Margaret's for extracting the cancer from their school just in time!
Mike Proctor February 10, 2012 at 12:24 AM
The Fit keeps hitting the Shan at SMCHS. Assistant coach murdered in a drunken fight in Lake Forest, coaches fired for growing pot and only fired aftr the "Big Game" win, accusation of physical abuse by a head coach, more drugs by another assistant coach...whats next? LAUSD size issues? God forbid. I agree with RSM dad..time for some changes.
CJ February 10, 2012 at 05:18 AM
What in the world are they paying Assistant JV Coaches such that they can afford to have a coffee cup of cocaine in a Cadillac Limo? Think the IRS might want to take a look at some tax returns?
Alumni February 10, 2012 at 05:40 AM
They need to revamp their whole athletics system. Athletic director needs to go and actual background checks need to be done. Who ate they letting near the kids these days? As an alum, I am embarrassed at what this school has become.
Jessica February 12, 2012 at 10:54 PM
While I agree that there is a clear lack of accountability at SMCHS, as a SMCHS grad I must say that Raymond Dunne is not only an excellent principal, but an even more excellent teacher. The politics at the school have existed before Mr. Dunne arrived, and the fact that so many teachers and administrators have been at the school for too long prevents any real change. The athletic program is by far the worst offender when it comes to politicking (pay for private training sessions with the girls' soccer coach, you get on the team), followed closely by the International Baccalaureate program and its despotic leader Lyn Alexander and then the tyrannical Math Department. I never knew Coach Welch, but my friends who experienced his coaching at both SMCHS and St. Margaret's only had amazing things to say about him, so I find myself doubting the assault accusations. At the end of the day, the Diocese is to blame; they are the ones controlling the strings, putting their own interests ahead of the students, even when well-meaning administrators like Mr. Dunne and Mr. Smith attempt to do what is in students' best interests. The Diocese is also the force that blocks the formation of a PTA, making it easier to cover up scandals and avoid accountability. When will the Catholic Church realize that this behavior is what is driving people away from their religion?
Mike Proctor February 13, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Hockey96, With all due respect your loyalty is blinding, but with out derailing this blog like other Patch Blogs have gotten off track, I do not wish to speak ill or negatively of the deceased. So I will reframe from commenting or sharing my OPINIONS about the tragedy that occurred during the early morning after the bar scene hours. I am sorry for your loss. I will say....behavior off SMCHS's coaches and their staff have not reflect your alma mater in positive light. I'll leave it at that Have a nice day.
emily moran February 13, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Everyone bashing Mr. Dunne clearly hasn't held a conversation with him. He brought back school spirit like nobody's business, gave support to the performing arts program which had literally none, and cared about his students more than anything else in the world. Last time I checked the principle wasn't in charge of hiring every single staff member of the school; don't blame him for other people's screw ups.
John Huddleston February 13, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Mr. Henderson, I am embarrassed with this article which you have written for two reasons. The incidences which you have listed are, of course, an embarrassment to the school but, Coach Welch has not been proven guilty of anything! For sensationalism, you throwing the fine high school football players and their fantastic achievement under the bus! Remember it was the players who won the Division I California State Championship not the coaches. RSM readers have also noticed how you have sided with certain local politicians!
John Huddleston February 13, 2012 at 01:43 AM
I might add Mr. Dunne and Mr. Smith plus the school's President are fine men!
Flannery4 February 13, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Huddleston, how did Mr. Henderson attack Harry Welch?? He merely reported the FACTS. How did Mr. Henderson "throw the fine high school football players....under the bus?" The article doesn't even mention the players! Are you reading something that no one else is reading? The article is very straightforward and factual! You are such the apologist for this school, despite the corruption that runs rampant throughout this football program. And you say the players won, not the coaches??? So the coaches just came along for the ride? You write such foolish things sir. You attack the author of the article for merely reporting the FACTS because they disturb your fantasy of a pristine football program at this school. Finally, where in your fantasyland did you ever get the idea that the author of the article was siding with local politicians???? What in the world are you talking about? This article says NOTHING about politicians, local or otherwise!
Chris Fore February 13, 2012 at 04:37 AM
Which coach died?
StandAndBeHeard February 13, 2012 at 08:23 AM
He was driving it, not riding in it. He was employed as a limo driver.
StandAndBeHeard February 13, 2012 at 08:24 AM
Recheck your Kudos. Read: http://ranchosantamargarita.patch.com/articles/st-margaret-s-coach-facing-more-felonies
Peter February 15, 2012 at 04:05 AM
Blaming Dunne or Carey are excellent people and don't deserve to be held responsible for these issues SM has had. If anyone should be punished, it should be the head of the Athletic Department, for ultimately overseeing all of this mess.

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