Redondo Union High School head wrestling coach Rick Gurrola has resigned, blaming his departure on “coordinated lies” and “false accusations” by two parents determined to ruin his reputation.
Neither Gurrola nor the Redondo Beach Unified School District would reveal the nature of the complaints against him.
“I have resigned as wrestling coach at Redondo Union High School, not because I wanted to and not because I did anything wrong but because I cannot defend myself against coordinated lies,” Gurrola told the Southern California News Group in a statement. “I am completely innocent of the false accusations made against me by the two parents who have made it their mission to hurt our wrestling program and my reputation.”
The allegations against Gurrola could not be independently confirmed. A statement from the district’s assistant superintendent of human resources, Nicole Wesley, said officials had accepted Gurrola’s resignation.
“The District cannot share specific details due to strict privacy laws for both students and employees,” Wesley wrote in a statement. “Let me be clear, however, the Board of Education and our District administration have an unwavering commitment to student and staff well-being, and that means they hold everyone accountable for both their conduct and their comments.”
On Thursday, an email from the district to parents and students announced that Gurrola would no longer be the head wrestling coach at the high school. In the interim, Athletic Director Andy Saltsman will work with the assistant coaches to schedule practices and stay in touch with parents. A search for a new head coach was expected to begin soon, Wesley said.
In Gurrola’s statement, he said other parents in the program support him.
“I can stand proud knowing that I have about 60 other parents and their children who still believe in me and are standing by my side,” Gurrola said. “Unfortunately, I cannot convince the powers that be that children and parents sometimes get angry and unreasonable while telling lies to get their way.”
On Saturday night, April 27, following the Redondo Beach Education Foundation gala event, Gurrola held an impromptu gathering with parents who supported him. A similar meeting with parents was planned for Sunday, but Gurrola reportedly did not attend.
Gurrola arrived as the head wrestling coach at RUHS in 2017. Before that, he coached at Mira Costa High School. In 2015, Gurrola helped launch Mira Costa’s first girls wrestling program. Shortly after coming to Redondo, Gurrola helped start that school’s first girls wrestling program. He also worked as a personal wrestling coach for athletes such as Mira Costa’s Sash Medvidovic, who finished third in CIF state finals in March.
"Wrestling has a lot to offer," Gurrola told The Beach Reporter in 2015 about starting the Mira Costa girls program. "It is more than just a sport. It is a lifestyle."