WATSONVILLE—Watsonville High School girls’ volleyball coach Tina Pendleton was placed on administrative leave earlier this week pending an investigation into actions that Watsonville High Principal Clara Fernandez says put students in danger.
Fernandez said she could not disclose any information about why Pendleton, who has coached at the school since at least 2018, was suspended from any team activities as of Oct. 25, citing the investigation.
“If it had been something that was not placing the students in some type of danger we wouldn’t have placed [Pendleton] on that leave,” Fernandez said. “Based on what we have at this time or what we have so far, I think we did what was best for our students’ safety.”
Watsonville Athletic Director Marcus Northcutt said he was informed by Pendleton last week that she would be stepping down from her position. She was supposed to finish out the season with games scheduled against North Salinas High on Oct. 25 and at Seaside High the following day.
But Pendleton was pulled to the side prior to Monday evening’s match against North Salinas and was informed that she was not allowed to engage with students or anything associated with the athletics department until further notice.
This publication reached out to Pendleton for a comment but she couldn’t be reached by 8am Thursday.
Fernandez said that Pendleton sent out an email Monday that she was retiring at the end of the season.
“She was going to retire but before that we did get some other information,” Fernandez said.
Watsonville Police Department spokeswoman Michelle Pulido said that the agency has no records of an arrest or charges being filed against Pendleton. There are also no filed criminal cases against Pendleton in the Santa Cruz County public court database.
Pendleton has been a fixture in youth volleyball for several years. She coached the middle school team at Mt. Madonna School—where she was also a teacher—and is also listed as a coach for Starlings Volleyball 831, a local club team and member of the greater Starlings Volleyball USA family.