Jim Harris, Ocean View High School basketball coach who was relieved of his coaching duties March 27, was reinstated Tuesday by John Myers, principal of the Huntington Beach school.
Myers said that he received a letter from Harris Tuesday morning that said in part: “After discussions with various CIF officials, it has become apparent to me that I was involved in a violation of CIF rules, which would justify the forfeiture of the Ocean View High School boys’ basketball games for the 1984-85 season.” Ocean View advanced to the championship game in the CIF Southern Section 5-A Division this season, where it lost to Mater Dei. Harris has coached at Ocean View for seven years.
Myers met with Harris, reached an agreement on guidelines by which the school’s program would operate and released a statement that said: " . . . I reconsidered the decision to not re-employ Jim Harris as Ocean View High School’s head basketball coach for the 1985-86 year. Based on conditions which will ensure a close working relationship between Coach Harris and myself, and that there will be no future rule violations, I have decided to re-employ him in that coaching position.”
Myers said he acted with the support of Huntington Beach Union High School District officials, who had conducted a three-month investigation into the ethics of the Seahawks’ program.
“Things have been cleared up to my satisfaction,” Myers said. “I thought it was important that there was an admission of guilt. I feel confident we won’t have any further problems. Jim and I reached an agreement that won’t be publicized.”
Although the results of the district’s investigation were never released, it was learned that Seahawk players Ricky Butler and Desi Hazely were found ineligible in the district report because of undue influence by Harris to retain them at the school. Butler and Hazely have lived at Harris’ home in El Toro for the school year and participated at Ocean View with a district waiver from the Saddleback Valley Unified School District.
Harris, 36, said that some parents have offered to let Butler and Hazely live with them. Both have indicated they would like to continue to play basketball at Ocean View.
Harris would not call his move a compromise, saying: “You can’t compromise the truth. I know the rules and I thought I knew the big picture. There was a procedure problem that I was unaware of.”