McKnight Fall

Gary McKnight built an athletic empire at Mater Dei. Will his role in a pedophiles return to campus destroy it?

McKnight met with Murphy the following day. "He'd gone home and told his wife what had happened," Murphy told Manly, "and she told him what an idiot he was, and he was coming back to apologize to me."

"Why would he think he could do that?" Manly asked. "Why would he do that?"

"Probably helping a friend, believing he was helping a friend," Murphy replied. "I don't know."


In early February, Mater Dei will host the prestigious Nike Extravaganza basketball tournament. The school will buzz again like it did last Friday night. The students will pack the gym. The teams will trample their competitors. Meanwhile, the Andrade case trudges on.

John Manly doesn't care much about his alma mater anymore. He's never met Gary McKnight—Manly graduated the same year the coach arrived at Mater Dei—but he fully understands McKnight's legacy.

"We thought McKnight would be a witness and nothing more," Manly says. "I was stunned at what Andrade said about returning to Mater Dei. Despite all we've been through, the notion that a high school—especially a Catholic high school—would allow a child abuser back on campus is honestly inconceivable. Especially in light of what the Orange diocese went through. It's inconceivable and impossible to explain logically.

"The only conclusion I can reach," Manly adds, "is that if you're a good fund-raiser and win basketball games, you can do anything."

Steve Lowery contributed to this article.


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