BREAKING NEWS: Mayfield fires coach Ernest Banaag, school says it wants to go in a different direction. Mayfield is the three-time defending CIF champion.

Mayfield Senior School fired volleyball coach Ernest Banaag, who in four seasons at the helm led the Cubs to three straight CIF-Southern Section championships in two different divisions. Mayfield won two straight titles in Division 4AA before beating Cerritos, 3-1, to win the Division 3A crown last year at Cypress College.In an e-mailed statement, Head of School Rita McBride said, “We at Mayfield Senior School appreciate Mr. Banaag’s contributions to the volleyball program during his tenure. We wish him well in all his future endeavors.” She refused further comment. Athletic director Lynda Gilbert did not return numerous phone calls seeking comment. “That’s all they would tell me,” said Banaag, who coached the team for four years. “They wanted to go in a different direction. I don’t know what direction winning CIF three years in a row is.” Banaag said he met with Gilbert three weeks ago to solidify this fall’s schedule and the program’s progression. He said that’s when she talked about the program heading in another direction. He then met with McBride and Gilbert late last week and they both told him he would not return. “If it was for due cause, then I would understand,” he said. “If it was three losing seasons, I would be happy to go. I did not fulfill my duties. “I asked them if they slept on it if it would change their minds and they said no.” Banaag had a 90-24 record at Mayfield, 22-4 in all playoff matches. He also said he would understand if he was being terminated for improper conduct or breaking any CIF-SS or school rules, which he denied. “When I had that (first) meeting and (Gilbert) told me they wanted to go in a different direction, I was totally shocked,” he said. “I did not know my job was on the line.”

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  • Volleyball Coach

    Tough break for Ernest. Good guy and coach who did not deserve that type of treatment. I hope it wasn’t some kind of parental thing who has a lot of influence.
    Hey Miguel, I believe this is one of the very few time you wrote about volleyball. Why don’t you let Keith Lair write this one? Or is it too big of a scoop for you to let go?

  • Miguel Melendez

    Volleyball Coach: Keith Lair is writing the story for Thursday’s paper. In fact, he called me at the office to tell me about it. All I did was throw it on the blog.

  • Volleyball Parent

    Ernest coached my daughter and I think the world of him. He took the program at Mayfield to a different level….a winning one. What other direction would you want to take the program? There was more exposure to the school and girls for college scholarships. This is a tremendous loss, but it will be another schools gain. If this is due to parents/players complaining for playing time, parents need to teach their girls to work harder and earn a spot instead of whinning. When the best players are on the court, it forces all the girls to step up which improves the entire program.

  • Volleyball Parent

    Ernest coached my daughter and I think the world of him. He took the program at Mayfield to a different level….a winning one. What other direction would you want to take the program? There was more exposure to the school and girls for college scholarships. This is a tremendous loss, but it will be another schools gain. If this is due to parents/players complaining for playing time, parents need to teach their girls to work harder and earn a spot instead of whinning. When the best players are on the court, it forces all the girls to step up which improves the entire program.

  • Volleyball Mom

    Ernest coached my daughter and I think the world of him. He took the program at Mayfield to a different level….a winning one. What other direction would you want to take the program? There was more exposure to the school and girls for college scholarships. This is a tremendous loss, but it will be another schools gain. If this is due to parents/players complaining for playing time, parents need to teach their girls to work harder and earn a spot instead of whinning. When the best players are on the court, it forces all the girls to step up which improves the entire program.

  • ABC

    Best of luck to him.

  • Anonymous

    Sad to see a good coach go.. If this is parental influence that is just plain wrong..

  • SHkid

    How do you fire a coach that won you 3 straight CIF titles?!?!?!

  • Amused Reader

    This is flat out wrong, especially if it was due to parent meddling. Well, at least Mayfield can go back to being irrelevant and he can go to more than likely a much bigger school. Three titles was too good. The school would rather lose and stay out of the limelight.

  • docgolfer

    hi, i just want you to know that ernest banaag does not deserve this, but at least when Mayfield Senior school decides to go into a “different direction” at least their not taking him (down) with them. I truly hope that it wasnt a parental/player issue. if you think about it, that might be the only reason why he would get let go. Please keith/miguel, lets get to the bottom of this!!!

  • docgolfer

    hi, i just want you to know that ernest banaag does not deserve this, but at least when Mayfield Senior school decides to go into a “different direction” at least their not taking him (down) with them. I truly hope that it wasnt a parental/player issue. if you think about it, that might be the only reason why he would get let go. Please keith/miguel, lets get to the bottom of this!!!

  • Seeker of Truth

    This is definitely an unfortunate situation for the coach and the players of the program. It seems as though there was some kind of ulterior motive behind this decision. The rationale of “moving in a different direction” after winning three CIF titles and having most likely a majority of happy parents, means one thing! POLITICS….

    We should assume that they are aware that a winning program brings good publicity. They should know that it was a good recruiting tool for students to attend their school. So, letting go of the leader of a winning program doesn’t make any sense. Once they used “moving in a different direction”, there was someone or some people who were not happy with the decisions made by the coach or coaches. It seems very curious.

    Money and power talk big, especially in the private school setting. There is an overwhelming need to fund projects and also to keep tuition lower. If this were the case, this would be a tragedy.

    I hope that the decision makers at the school just had a lapse of common sense versus an administration who surrendered to the pressures of big donors or lacking the strong leadership needed to run an excellent institution.

  • SeenThat

    Wow! Ernest is a hardworking, sincere, and dedicated young man who only accomplished at the highest level. Mayfield will now go back down to where they belong. I promise you that they won’t make the CIF finals this year. Go Poly!!

  • 2ton

    different direction has to mean some helicopter parent(s) or some school faculty member(s) had their feelings hurt. What a shame to let a good coach go.

  • vb mom

    This is such a shame, Ernest is a great guy & a great coach!
    He attracted top notch players to Mayfield and built a winning program, and this is what he gets in return? All I can imagine is that some parent is miffed because their little princess didn’t get enough playing time. This is VARSITY…the best athletes play, and you play to win! If you want your kid to get more time on the court, then play JV.
    If his being let go is due to parental interference (as rumors are circulating), I am disappointed in the Mayfield administration and I feel sorry for the child. What lesson are her parents sending her? That “mommy & daddy will fix everything for you”? Or making her think she is the very best….which she obviously isn’t & will undoubtedly figure out the hard way in the real world. Mommy & daddy can’t fix everything, and some day when it really matters, their little princess won’t have the strength or know-how to handle it when things don’t go her way.
    I wish the best of luck to Ernest and the next school who is lucky enough to get him as their coach.

  • Not Good

    This is really really bad. Who fires and employee without telling them why they are fired? Especially a very valuable employee who has proven to be a huge asset to the organization. To lay any of the blame of this on the parents is wrong, this is completely in the hands of the administration. If a parent complained then the administration should have given their valuable employee a chance to address the complaints. You don’t just let someone go without telling them why. I understand the administration cannot broadcast their reasons, but they owe Mr. Banaag a fair shot and they owe him a complete explanation for all that he has done for that school.

    Don’t lay this on the parents, you will always have parents that complain about coaches, that is the nature of things. The Administration should have been honest with the coach instead of just kicking him out. And then they come up with this line – they want to go in a different direction – the only different direction is losing – so now they want to lose?

    It is really a great loss for Mayfield. What ever school is lucky enough to pick up Coach Banaag will be better for it.

    Good luck Coach!

  • Volleyball Coach

    What’s done is done. Did Mayfield make a bad decision, yes in the volleyball community. Now the girls can go to La Canada, Flintridge Sacred Heart, Maranatha, or Pasadena Poly. What a new direction. Good luck Megan Rush. You’ll need it. Watch your back.

  • Mayfield has some explaining

    The fact that this thread has been up for more than 24 hours and not one negative comment tells you something about this coach — he obviously is a pretty good guy. In other threads like this, you’d hear the skinny. The comments are even complimentary, making you wonder if what people are saying is true about the parent complaints. This poor guy, Mayfield owes him an explanation, but a school that bows to a parent over playing time lacks integrity, the kind of integrity it should have to explain to a well-liked coach why he’s not welcome anymore.

  • g

    Wow, i see that we have alot of doubts on the firing of Coach Banaag, unless Mayfield Admin steps up to the plate there is nothing we can do or say. And this will be just a blog were people vent and say stupid stuff. I know for a “fact” that he was let go for no other reason then POLITICS. I wish that where ever he ends up at, that he beats Mayfield on the court. I feel sorry for the girls left behind to deal with this nonsense, but i really feel sorry for the girl who’s parent was behind all this. anyways, we should continue to talk about this till someone that it really matters to start listening(mayfield admin). adios

  • Greeper

    Re: Not Good Said

    Are you nuts? Of course people can complain about Parent’s if in fact parent’s played a role in this situation.

  • Not Good

    Greeper – of course you can complain about the parents, but what good does that do. The ultimate responsibility is on the administration particularly because they weren’t at least honest with the Coach as to what was going on. If a parent did complain, then the Coach should have the ability to address the complaint. If the administration has some other problem with the Coach then they should be adult enough to give the Coach an honest answer as to why he is being fired. Instead the administration is playing some BS game about ‘going in another direction’.

  • Schameless

    Coach Ernest has been loyal and dedicated to the Mayfield volleyball program for the past years. He has taken them to a new level and made a name for the school. He deserves to be told the truth and not a bogus explanation. The spineless money hungry Admins are the ones that need to be routed to “the other direction.”

  • anony

    Too many coaches have side businesses running for-profit clubs: kind of a pay-to-play deal. You don’t shell out a few thousand to play club, you don’t get time on the court at school. Conflict of interest. Also leads to a pre-professional environment at an institution that promotes a more open opportunity to play the game. Sounds like school admins think it would be better for a dozen or more to get court time (maybe even settle for city champion rather than state champ) rather than leave most on the bench in favor of the pre-professionals. If that’s the case here, I support the school’s decision.

  • okay

    This is all a big load of crap.
    If you want to know who is behind it all: go find out who’s parents happens to be on the Mayfield board, and daughter (never plays, because there is more worthy athletes) on the team.
    connect the dots.

  • Anonymous

    My daughter was on the Mayfield team last year-Earnest is a great coach always fair and up front with the girls. Totally devoted and understanding. They worked hard all year and had wonderful results thanks to Earnest. My daughter loves Mayfield but their actions have confused her and she is really let down as are most of the girls on the team.

  • docgolfer

    Wow, almost 2 weeks have gone by and we are still talking about this. i have tried to hold myself back but i cant, lets just say that we all know and understand that mayfield admin needs to be going “in a different direction” but this not only affects the Coach banaag but the girls that are left behind with Megan. we wish the girls all the best, and for megan a miracle.

  • chkyrslf

    If you want to know who caused this change, my guess is to figure out who the “anony” is who wrote this comment, and you are probably close to your answer.

    “Too many coaches have side businesses running for-profit clubs: kind of a pay-to-play deal. You don’t shell out a few thousand to play club, you don’t get time on the court at school. Conflict of interest. Also leads to a pre-professional environment at an institution that promotes a more open opportunity to play the game. Sounds like school admins think it would be better for a dozen or more to get court time (maybe even settle for city champion rather than state champ) rather than leave most on the bench in favor of the pre-professionals. If that’s the case here, I support the school’s decision.”

    Isn’t school, in general, a pre-professional environment that should help kids learn how to be professionally successful in their future?

  • chkyrslf

    Also, why do the kids that are smiling in the picture above, who have obviously made a huge commitment to the game, deserve less of an “opportunity to play ” or win, than they have earned in the coaches mind? You anony, have gone to far in trying to influence what happens on the playing field and should ashamed of yourself for your support and your likely influence.

  • Really?

    Lets review this comment
    Volleyball Coach said:
    What’s done is done. Did Mayfield make a bad decision, yes in the volleyball community. Now the girls can go to La Canada, Flintridge Sacred Heart, Maranatha, or Pasadena Poly. What a new direction. Good luck Megan Rush. You’ll need it. Watch your back.

    Wow! Whoever wrote this is out of their mind. Watch your back? Wow, that is just horrible. This type of mentality sets a far worse example to our kids.

  • docgofler

    Really said; “watch your back” i think the person that said that didnt mean it in a physical manner but to watch your back because you have parents that have money controlling what the new coach will be doing. this has gone far enough, whats done is done, stop blogging about this cause it wont change the fact that Mayfield made the wrong move because of the pressure from certain people/situation. It doesnt really hurt the coach because he’s a proven winner, and the real loser are the girls that are left behind to deal with the AD, Admin and of course their inexperienced coach.

  • docgofler

    Really said; “watch your back” i think the person that said that didnt mean it in a physical manner but to watch your back because you have parents that have money controlling what the new coach will be doing. this has gone far enough, whats done is done, stop blogging about this cause it wont change the fact that Mayfield made the wrong move because of the pressure from certain people/situation. It doesnt really hurt the coach because he’s a proven winner, and the real loser are the girls that are left behind to deal with the AD, Admin and of course their inexperienced coach.

  • Most people just don’t understand…

    We have to understand that Megan Rush has a lot to offer Mayfield. She’s a former collegiate athlete and a much better role model than Ernest. Without a doubt, Megan has much more to offer Mayfield and their players.

    The Mayfield CIF titles are a credit to the athletes in their program. In the past, the players at Mayfield have been tremendous.
    Ernest did not attract those players, they were already there. With their talent and hard work, they won and deserve the CIF titles. Bravo!

    I think Mayfield’s silence an effort to protect him. There have been issues with Ernest for years, they are just trying to do him a favor by not bringing them to the surface.

    Of course, time will tell. For now, make the most of what we have. But I for one can see that this is for the better for the school and our girls.

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