At Crespi, Muff System Purrs as Players Learn Step by Step

Times Staff Writer

The most successful high school coaches use patience and skill to build a winning tradition that withstands constant player turnover.

Paul Muff is one coach with both qualities, and he is reaping the benefits.

In his 10th year as Crespi basketball coach, Muff has a record of 157-74 against some of the best competition in Southern California.

His teams have won three Del Rey League championships in the past four years and have been to the Southern Section playoffs six times since 1979.

Muff says that consistency is the key to his program's success.

"I would say that 99% of the varsity players here have come up through the lower-level teams--most of them one step at a time," Muff said. "And at the lower levels we've been fortunate enough to have a lot of consistency in the way our coaches teach."

There is a good reason for the similar coaching traits. The head coaches for Crespi's junior varsity, sophomore and freshman teams all played basketball for Muff.

Ed Marek, the varsity assistant coach, played on Muff's first team in 1977. Jorge Hernandez, the junior varsity coach, also played in 1977 and has coached Celts basketball for six years.

Freshman coach Jeff Snyder graduated from Crespi in 1981. Bill McBride, the sophomore coach, graduated in 1983.

Many of the incoming freshmen players at Crespi are already familiar with Muff's coaching philosophy. "Five of our top six players this season had older brothers or have younger brothers in our basketball program," Muff said.

Forward Scott Morley and center Steve Yoest had older brothers who played for Crespi. Forward Steve Tanin, guard Jason Turner and sixth man Tom Morley all have younger brothers playing on lower-level teams.

And then there is the Joe Campenella family. Son Phil was the first to play Crespi basketball in 1983. Robert followed in 1984 and Joey in '84 and '85. Nick is a sophomore right now, and there are still three more brothers--all basketball players--to come after that.

"We figure to have Campenella's playing here through 1990," Muff said.

That's consistency.

Bob Hawking, Simi Valley basketball coach, wants to take his team on a trip to the East Coast to meet national power DeMatha High.

Hawking hopes the Pioneers will be playing on the same level as DeMatha within two years--if Simi Valley sophomores Don MacLean and Shawn DeLaittre develop into major college prospects, as expected.

The trip and game are still a dream at this point, but Hawking read some good news this week that might solve at least half of his problem.

Bernie Kyman, organizer of the Chaminade Tournament, said he may try to convince DeMatha to head west and compete in his tournament.

Hawking's response: "I'm all for it. Maybe they can save us a trip."

Canyon and Hart will renew a growing basketball rivalry Tuesday when the Cowboys and Indians hook up at College of the Canyons.

It will be the second time the teams have played this season. Last week, in the quarterfinals of the Hart tournament, the Indians defeated Canyon, 47-45.

Emotions ran high when the teams first met, as the referees spent as much time signaling fouls as they did indicating points scored.

Three minutes into the game, Canyon's Stuart Sayre bumped Hart's Eric Arnold into a wall as Arnold was going for a layup.

Sayre was called for a flagrant foul and ejected.

Arnold is lost for at least six weeks. He suffered a broken left ankle on the play.

Jim Friedl and Steve Armstrong played key roles in Agoura's Southern Section Desert-Mountain Conference football championship in the fall of 1984.

The Chargers beat Yucaipa, 21-20, to win the title, with Armstrong completing a 27-yard desperation pass to Friedl on a fourth-and-17 play with 22 seconds left in the game. Armstrong kicked the winning point-after.

It was the perfect climax to a 14-0 season.

Friedl and Armstrong began 1985 as the big men on the Agoura campus. But they begin 1986 with their futures unsettled.

Armstrong told The Times earlier this week that he will not return to the U. S. Military Academy at West Point for the spring semester.

Friedl said in an interview Thursday that he may drop out of the Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colo.

"I haven't decided whether I'm leaving for sure or not, but it's a definite possibility" Friedl said in a telephone interview from his home in Agoura."

Friedl said that he isn't fond of the military's regimented life style.

"Some people are made for that kind of life," he said. "Me? Sometimes I wake up at 5:30 in the morning feeling just miserable--knowing that I'm going to be yelled at for a couple of hours today. It's not too much fun."

Friedl did not play football at Air Force because he was not allowed to try out for the team.

"I was given a card questionnaire to fill out and it asked us to list our time in the 40," Friedl said. "I said 4.7 and one of the assistant coaches told me that they weren't even looking at anyone who didn't run a 4.6 or better.

The Air Force varsity finished the season 12-1 and ranked eighth in the nation by the Associated Press. Air Force beat Texas, 24-16, in the Bluebonnet Bowl.

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