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Busy Wagenbach Enjoying Success After Her Ordeal

The sports scene at Kennedy High has Vicky Wagenbach so busy these days, she barely has time to sleep, let alone reflect.

But Wagenbach, coach of the Golden Cougar girls’ soccer team, said Tuesday she is content at Kennedy after enduring some difficult coaching experiences at Alemany in 1996.

Wagenbach, a 1988 Alemany graduate who played soccer for the Indians and at Moorpark College and Cal State Hayward, served as Alemany’s junior varsity girls’ coach in the 1995-96 season.

In May of 1996, longtime girls’ varsity coach Marcia Takahashi resigned after winning seven league titles and compiling a 218-92-18 record. Wagenbach was promoted to Takahashi’s post and was fired on July 26, 1996, without ever coaching a game.

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Wagenbach said Alemany gave no reason for her firing, prompting her to undertake a lengthy and unsuccessful appeals process with the Archdiose of Los Angeles.

Wagenbach said the Archdiose paid her a cash settlement. Officials at the Archdiose could not be reached for comment.

“I could have sued them, but I was sick of the whole thing,” Wagenbach said. “They paid me a lump sum of cash and we called it a day.”

Because Wagenbach had signed a teaching contract, she remained at Alemany for the 1996-97 school year, watching the girls’ socccer team decline. The Indians had four coaches during 1996. They are 1-4-2 this season under third-year Coach Kris Swanson.

Wagenbach moved to Kennedy for the 1997-98 school year as a physical education teacher, head cross-country coach and an assistant with the girls’ soccer and track teams.

This school year, Wagenbach is the head coach for all three teams while pursuing a master’s degree. Her soccer team, which includes seven freshmen, is 6-2-1.

“Everyone said they couldn’t believe I was going to work at a City school,” Wagenbach said. “But the kids are the same. I’d missed soccer, the parts where you all have to shoot for the same goals.”

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The Hart boys’ tournament experienced problems under the direction of Ron Lindberg, the first-year Hart coach.

Under former coach Robert Benevidez, the tournament had grown into one of the region’s best. This year’s event was hurt by scheduling confusion, poor officiating and small, poorly maintained fields.

Lindberg had orginally designed the tournament so that some teams would play six games.

However, since teams traditionally play only five games in a tournament, such a set-up would have resulted in teams with six games exceeding the Southern Section’s season limit. Offending teams would have had to either cancel or forfeit their final league games in February.

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“The [section] and [Burroughs Coach] Mike Kodama told me last week about the sixth game,” Lindberg said. “I’m pretty glad we found out because it’s a pretty severe sanction if you go over [the limit].”


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