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Occidental’s Westphal Quits Basketball Job

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

Bill Westphal, the Occidental College basketball coach who was forced by the school to give up a coaching job in the World Basketball League because it was in violation of NCAA guidelines, will replace his brother, former NBA star Paul Westphal, as the coach at Grand Canyon College in Phoenix.

A news conference was scheduled for this morning on the campus of the Arizona school.

Paul Westphal left Grand Canyon to become an assistant for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, the team for which he starred during the 1970s. Bill Westphal, 44, a candidate for the Grand Canyon position that eventually went to his brother two years ago, accepted the job last week. He informed Occidental officials of his decision Monday.

Occidental Athletic Director Lynn Pacala said Westphal’s decision was not a reaction to his run-in with the NCAA and Occidental officials in April.

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“It had nothing to do with the professional team,” Pacala said. “He came back here in 1986 from Arizona and he noticed the changes in the Los Angeles area from when he was here last. He had grown accustomed to the Arizona pace.”

The Westphal brothers have operated summer basketball camps in the Phoenix area for the past several years.

Pacala did not name any candidates for the vacant coaching position at Occidental.

“We are making a decision now on what our next step will be,” she said.

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On March 21, Bill Westphal was named as the new coach of the Vancouver Nighthawks of the WBL. On April 9, he was told by Occidental President Richard Gilman that to coach the Nighthawks he would have to resign his coaching position at the college because of an NCAA rule forbidding anyone from holding both a college and professional coaching job at the same time.

“I wanted to tell the NCAA to get lost,” Westphal said at the time. “A person has the right to work where he chooses. But I’m the kind of person who likes to do things by the book.”

He was unavailable for comment Tuesday.


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