Menifee Athletes, Parents Protest Firing of Paloma Valley Coach

Parents and athletes hold signs protesting the firing of Paloma Valley cross country coach Mike McGr...

Parents and athletes hold signs protesting the firing of Paloma Valley cross country coach Mike McGregor.
Dozens of athletes, parents and other supporters lined the streets in front of Menifee's Paloma Valley High School both before and after school Monday, protesting the firing of popular girls cross country coach Mike McGregor.

Wearing T-shirts that read "Team McGregor" and "We've Got Your Back," members of the girls and boys cross country teams and their parents held up signs and waved to passing drivers -- many of whom honked in support of their cause. McGregor, who has been a coach at the school for 13 years and a teacher there for nine, was fired last week following an incident at a meet at Temescal Canyon on Sept. 12.

Parents protesting the action said some adults witnessed a conversation between McGregor and Temescal Canyon officials concerning what McGregor said was an unsafe course for his runners. Parts of the course ran through a parking lot with moving vehicles. McGregor reportedly also complained about the confusing layout of the course and alleged that race officials directed some of his runners in the wrong direction.

Some time during the disagreement, McGregor used an obscenity (bull----) in expressing his frustration. McGregor, who didn't return phone calls on Monday, has admitted this but also has repeated his concern for the safety of his runners that day.

"Yes, I said a word I shouldn’t have said," McGregor told the Riverside Press Enterprise. "I’m sorry about that, but I was thinking about the safety of the kids. I’m responsible for these kids — I care deeply about them. I’m not gonna apologize for that."

Shirl Larios, whose daughter Brittney Ferguson is a senior runner on the team, said McGregor c