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Servite’s Joel Hartmann to become Mater Dei Executive Director of Athletics

Mater Dei has hired Joel Hartmann away from Servite to become Mater Dei’s Executive Director of Athletics.

Hartmann, 61, will oversee Mater Dei’s athletic department, which has been rocked by allegations of violent and sexual misbehavior, and a lawsuit.

Hartmann’s appointment is effective July 1.

He has been at Servite for 32 years, first as an athletic trainer, and as an associate athletic director the past 18 years. Hartmann has also been Trinity League coordinator and helps lead the Orange County releaguing process.

Hartmann said he began having conversations about the position two months ago with Mater Dei president Michael Brennan, who was principal at Servite from 2006 through the 2020-21 school year. Brennan became Mater Dei president this past February.

Mater Dei’s football program has been the subject of reports of alleged hazing and sexual harassment and assault. Mater Dei boys water polo is the subject of a Santa Ana Police Department investigation that is looking into allegations of hazing and assault in the program.

The family of a former Mater Dei football player who was injured in a fight in the football locker room on Feb. 4, 2021, filed suit against the school and the diocese in Orange County Superior Court on Nov. 23.

The suit alleges negligence, negligence per se-hazing in violation of the California penal code, negligent failure to warn, train or educate, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

“Do I feel like there’s a lot of trouble there? Yeah,” Hartmann said. “There will be more things that are going to pop up. Mike (Brennan) and I said we’re kind of like the Red Cross. We’re going to bandage it back up and get it back to working the best way it possibly can.”

Hartmann said the opportunity to be in charge of an athletic department appealed to him. He already was closing in on making the move to Mater Dei when Alan Clinton announced his resignation as Servite athletic director effective at the end of this school year.

He said he will report directly to Brennan and will have two athletic directors and two associate athletic directors who will report to Hartmann.

“I’m not 100 percent sure what’s all entailed right now because we’re still defining everybody’s roles,” Hartmann said Tuesday. “I want to meet with their staff and their AD’s (athletic directors) and see where I can help move the department forward.”

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