O'Connor Figures JC Coaches Got a Raise

If Bob O'Connor had wanted to be an administrator, he would have selected business over education.

"That's where the money is," O'Connor said.

O'Connor, in a surprising twist, is following the money, anyway.

After two years in an unwanted role as athletic director at Pierce College, O'Connor resigned two weeks ago to return to coaching. That, as it turns out, is where the money is again in community college athletics.

An amendment to the faculty contract approved Wednesday by the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees makes a coaching assignment part of the course load for full-time instructors.

The amendment, which spared six physical education instructors from layoffs scheduled for June 30, also had two side effects.

First, it paved the way for final cutbacks in the district's intercollegiate athletic program. Five coaches will be among seven physical education instructors laid off, and 23 part-time coaches will be fired in accordance with the faculty union's contract.

The other side effect, according to O'Connor: Coaching as part of an instructor's course load will increase the value of the assignment by 300%.

An example:

This year, football coaches in the district received a stipend of about $6,500. If the coach was also a full-time instructor, that stipend came in addition to the base teaching salary.

Under the new district plan, a football coaching assignment becomes equal to about half a full course load, making the job worth about $21,000 of an instructor's base salary.

Coaches still will lose the $6,500 stipend, but in terms of monetary value, a coaching assignment represents a significant increase, according to O'Connor's figures.

Thus, O'Connor said, the district is greatly inflating coaches' salaries.

"I think they know that it is costing them," he said. "I think it's a philosophical thing with some of the district people that PE teachers coach."

O'Connor is still acting as Pierce's athletic director until a replacement is named. He said that would take another two weeks, which won't be soon enough for O'Connor.

"I didn't apply for the job originally," he said. "I was asked by others in the department to take it because they needed someone to market the program and raise money. To help save the program, I did it.

"But I didn't get into education to push papers. I got into it to teach and coach, and that's a lot more fun."

O'Connor will have plenty of fun, then, during the 1986 school year. He will coach both the water polo and golf teams in addition to his course load as a health education instructor.

Originally, he was to replace Jim Fenwick as coach of the Pierce football program. But, citing a tight budget, Pierce President David Wolf eliminated football and men's basketball last month.

O'Connor said he would have preferred to coach football, but that he's equally excited about coaching golf and returning to water polo, a sport he last coached at UCLA in 1957.

"Different sports have different athletes," he said. "But just working with the athletes is where the fun is at."

Add JCs: Less than three months before the start of the new school year, final details of the cutbacks in intercollegiate programs have yet to be worked out, Trade-Tech Athletic Director Courtney Borio said.

Most pressing is the availability of non-PE teachers to coach athletic teams. The practice has been allowed in the past, but legal questions have been raised in light of planned layoffs.

Until that matter is settled, many schools in the district are unable to guarantee which programs they will offer in 1986-1987.

Mission College is a good example. The school plans to offer four of the five sports it fielded this year. But if non-PE teachers are not allowed to coach, Mission will not have coaches for its teams. The coaches of those teams this year were part-timers who will be fired June 30.

If, however, non-PE teachers are able to coach, Mission might add men's basketball, Athletic Director Phil Lozano said.

Either way, Lozano expects the quality of the teams to suffer.

"The damage was done a long, long time ago," he said. "It's like starting over again, but more difficult. At least when you are starting up, you can anticipate a starting date. This way, you don't even know if you'll have a program or not."

At Valley College, Athletic Director George Goff said that at least six of the seven athletic teams fielded this year will be offered again in the fall.

Pierce will have nine of its 11 men's sports in the fall, with football and basketball the exceptions. For the women, six of seven sports will be fielded. Women's basketball could be a late addition.

Moorpark and Canyons are not in the L.A. district and face no cutbacks. Both schools will field the same teams in 1986-1987, with Moorpark possibly adding men's tennis.

Draft notice: Fred Riscen, who was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers on the fourth round of the secondary phase (for players previously picked) of the June free agent draft, leaves this morning for Liberal, Kan., to play in a semipro summer league for the defending National Baseball Congress champions.

Once there, he'll consider his options.

"If the money is real good, I couldn't pass it up," said Riscen, who played at Pierce this season. "But the Brewers are waiting to hear from their first three picks before making me an offer, and I don't see the money being that good."

If it isn't, new USC baseball Coach Mike Gillespie may have a left-handed pitcher.

Riscen, who as a sophomore set a state community college record for strikeouts in a season with 157, said a scholarship offer from USC is more than just a second option.

"I've talked with Coach Gillespie almost everyday," Riscen said. "USC is a good school and it would be a great opportunity. The chances of making it in pro ball aren't that good, and an education at SC would be great to fall back on."

Riscen said he would welcome the opportunity to play for Gillespie.

"It would be great," Riscen said. "I don't regret anything I've done, but I wish I would have played for him the last few years because he's a great coach."

Riscen's has an inside source to verify that information. He and Frank Halcovich, two-time state community college player of the year under Gillespie at College of the Canyons, were teammates on the 1984 Granada Hills team that won the City championship at Dodger Stadium.

Add draft: Terry Sloan, a catcher from Master's College who was kicked off the team for alleged misconduct, was drafted in the 12th round of last week's major league draft by the Atlanta Braves. Sloan signed for an undisclosed amount and is currently playing in Idaho Falls, Ida., for the National League team's rookie league affiliate.

Seven other college baseball players from the Valley area were selected in the draft. As many as four may sign professional contracts.

Three--all from state community college champion Canyons--are expected to honor commitments to attend four-year schools in the fall.

Outfielder Don Erickson, selected by the Chicago White Sox, has signed a letter-of-intent to attend Florida. Pete Kuld, a catcher, was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals but will probably accept a scholarship that awaits him at Pepperdine. First baseman Scott Drury, a teammate of Kuld's this summer in the Alaskan League for the North Pole Nicks, is expected to choose Texas Tech over a contract with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Two players selected from Valley College are undecided. Chris Haslock was selected by the San Francisco Giants and Donnie Moeller was drafted by the Kansas City Royals.

For seniors Vince Teixeira and Tony Ciccone, there is little choice. They will either sign a contract or pass on professional baseball.

Teixeira, a third baseman out of Saugus High, Canyons and UC Santa Barbara, was drafted by the Oakland A's. Ciccone, formerly of Monroe, Canyons and Sonoma State, went to the Dodgers.

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