Two organizations which previously hired Tracy Bull as a coach have announced they are terminating him after learning that the 51-year-old Ceres swimming coach has been arrested for allegedly sending what the Ceres Police Department has termed "inappropriate communications with a minor."
Detectives launched an investigation into the Ceres Dolphins swimming coach on Tuesday. A Wednesday press release indicated that the investigation was thorough and resulted in Bull's arrest and booking later that day.
“These are groundless charges. Mr. Bull is innocent of the charges for which he’s been arrested,” said his defense attorney Kirk McAllister. “When all the evidence comes out this is going to be an instance of coach hunting. Coaches are very susceptible these days for false allegations and this is a prime example. Anyone who wants to get into coaching these days should really think twice because you have the police looking over your shoulder, trying to interpret every off-hand remark and try to look at it through a dirty window. It’s a very bad time to be a coach.”
Bull had coached varsity boys water polo and freshman boys basketball at Ceres High School and was affiliated with the city of Ceres Hoopsters basketball program.
Jay Simmonds, an assistant superintendent with the Ceres Unified School District, said Bull will not be returning as a head coach "for various reasons. I can't give you any specifics. It's an ongoing investigation and a personnel issue."
Simmonds said CUSD was contacted Wednesday afternoon explaining that Bull had been arrested while giving "very few details."
"We'll do whatever we can to support them in their investigation," said Simmonds.
The Ceres Dolphins website posted a statement after the arrest. It read: "We, the Ceres Dolphins Swim Team Board have become aware of an investigation involving our head coach, Tracy Bull. At this time we have suspended our head coach pending further notice and completion of the investigation.
"As a Board our first and foremost responsibility is to our 170+ swimmers and their families. This is a disappointing blow to our team, our swimmers, our parents and our Board. We will be running our swim team as usual, but ask for your patience while we work to find a replacement and continue to keep our swimmers swimming.
"We are unable to comment on the specifics and reason for the suspension due to thie being a pending investigation. If you have questions we ask that you please contact our Ceres Dolphins League Representative, Tricia Staley, who will seek to answer your questions, after getting a response from our Board.
"We thank you for your understanding and patience in this matter."
Ceres Police Department Sgt. Danny Vierra would not confirm if the alleged incident involved texts, emails, written or verbal forms of communication. He did say it involved a Ceres Dolphins swimmer between the ages of 14 and 17.
Bull, who has been a Dolphins coach for many years, was charged under California Penal Code Section 647.6, Annoying or Molesting a Child.
Vierra would not answer additional specific questions about the case, saying he doesn't want to influence testimony and the possibility of more alleged victims. He also would not say if Bull has been the subject of prior complaints.
The Investigations Unit is currently determining if there are any other victims who need to come forward and asked calls be referred to contact Detective Amador at 538-5729 or Detective Quiroz at 538-5638.