Mater Dei HS celebrates 3 Heisman Trophy winners amid ongoing scrutiny of athletic programs

"I think today shows you that those accusations, unfortunately, have no merit to them," said head football coach Bruce Rollinson.
SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Following a homecoming ceremony Tuesday for Mater Dei High School's latest Heisman Trophy winner, the school's head football coach said the day's celebration showed accusations of a culture that welcomes hazing at the school's athletic programs were unfounded.

With gym bleachers packed with students, Mater Dei celebrated history and welcomed home its latest Heisman Trophy winner, Bryce Young.

Staff said this was the first high school with three alumni to earn the honor. The Heisman Trophy is awarded annually in the country to an outstanding college football player.

The University of Alabama quarterback was recognized at his alma mater as he shared the stage with the '64 and '04 winners John Huarte and Matt Leinart.

Young said he was grateful to all who helped him along the way.

"I could not be here without my teammates, both in high school and college, all the coaches that have coached me throughout my entire life," he said. "My family was here, my parents. I've been blessed to have the people around me and the support system that I do."

The event came as the school's athletic program faces various accusations of sexual assault and allegations stating that staff and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange (RCDO) have allowed a culture welcoming hazing on campus.

READ ALSO | Mater Dei High School facing allegations of assault and hazing within boys' water polo program

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The Santa Ana Police Department is investigating allegations of assault and hazing within the Mater Dei High School boys' water polo program.

Mater Dei's former president ordered an assessment of the school's athletic programs by a Sacramento Law Firm.

The school's head football coach, Bruce Rollinson, was asked about the ongoing scrutiny in a press conference after Tuesday's ceremony.

"I think today shows you that those accusations, unfortunately, have no merit to them," Rollinson said.

Rollinson told Eyewitness News he wasn't under any pressure to achieve success by any means necessary.

"I'm not under any pressure at all," he said. "I mean, we're in spring practice right now, and we're moving forward with the 2022 season. Obviously, I get legal advice from our great diocese and through our school, and through my lawyer, and I go by what they say, and I do what I do, you know? Get kids ready to play football."

Both the school's executive director of communications and the assistant director of communications with the RCDO said Tuesday they were still waiting for the results of the assessment of the school's athletic program.

READ ALSO | Former Mater Dei High School football player sexually assaulted by teammate, police document alleges
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A former Mater Dei High School football player whose family previously claimed he was harassed and bullied was also allegedly sexually assaulted by a football player, according to a Santa Ana Police Department document released Monday.

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