High Schools: Booker's resignation surprising

On my day off on Monday, I received a rather surprising email. The subject line read — "Marissa Booker has resigned as CdM Girls Head Volleyball Coach."

At first, I thought it was a joke, because a couple of hours earlier in the day, Booker emailed me. She sent me the names of three of her players she nominated for the Daily Pilot Newport-Mesa Dream Team.

"Here are the 3 student-athletes that I think should be nominated from my team," Booker's email began.

A couple of hours later, I learned from Don Grable, the school's athletic director, that CdM was no longer Booker's team.

After two years, Booker stepped down, stating that it was because she wanted to spend more time with family. I was shocked that she left one of the most storied programs in Southern California after just two years.

She did well in her first high school varsity head coaching job. Her teams won 83% of the time and 100% of the time in Pacific Coast League play.

However, at CdM, the school doesn't hang league championship banners in the gym. Walk in the place, and all you see are banners for CIF Southern Section titles, CIF Southern California Regional titles, CIF State titles and national titles.

Booker led the Sea Kings to one section final appearance and they lost. It came in her debut season and in Division 1-A. She earned the CIF Southern Section Division 1-A Coach of the Year award.

Her second season, CdM moved up to Division 1-AA, the highest in the section. This year's team was arguably Booker's best. She boasted 13 seniors, with the likes of Stanford-bound setter Kelsey Humphreys, Stanford-bound outside hitter Grace Kennedy, San Diego State-bound outside hitter Alexis Cage and sophomore sensation Hayley Hodson.

The team was so talented that Booker's former coach at Newport Harbor, the legendary Dan Glenn, said at the start of the year that CdM, when healthy, boasted the best team in the state. Talk about pressure.

The Sea Kings opened the year against Marymount of Los Angeles. Yes, it was against the same team that beat CdM in the Division 1-A finale the previous season.

The nonleague match didn't go the distance like the section title matchup between the two schools. The match lasted three sets, Marymount winning each one.

The teams could've met again, in the Division 1-AA finale last month. The Sea Kings never made it, losing in the semifinals at top-seeded Redondo Union in three sets.

That match marked the end of Booker's short stint as the Sea Kings' coach.


The Orange Coast League might want to rename the Orange Coast League Offensive Player of the Year award after Robert Murtha.

For the third straight year, Murtha, Estancia's tailback, earned the award. In his final season, Murtha produced quality rushing numbers (1,594 yards and 14 touchdowns).

He made a name for himself during his three years on varsity.

For his career, he rushed for 5,489 yards and 53 touchdowns, and he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and caught two touchdown passes, giving him 57 touchdowns. The rushing and touchdown totals are both Newport-Mesa career records.

Murtha broke Binh Tran's 4,333-yard total and Keola Asuega's 49-touchdown total. Both running backs he surpassed played at rival Costa Mesa.


The CIF Southern Section has released its boys' basketball polls and CdM and Newport Harbor are both ranked.

The Sea Kings are No. 4 in Division 3-AA and the Sailors are No. 11 in Division 2-A. Going into Thursday, the Back Bay schools were each 5-1.


Zero is the number of goals the Estancia boys' soccer team has allowed in five matches this season. The Eagles have started 2-0-3.


Twitter: @DCPenaloza

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