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Kernen Hits Streets to Find an Assistant : College baseball: Robinson’s departure to Loyola Marymount leaves CSUN coach without help.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Bill Kernen has enjoyed the thrill of victory. And he is now feeling the agony of . . . victory.

At least it seems that way. As far as the Cal State Northridge baseball coach is concerned, winning breeds headaches.

Having already lost two of his top players to professional baseball, Kernen on Tuesday faced the task of filling an equally important void.

Jody Robinson, 37, the assistant who helped Kernen guide Northridge to within three outs of a berth in the College World Series in its first NCAA Division I campaign, has been hired as head coach at Loyola Marymount.

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Although he is a veteran of 15 years as a four-year college assistant, Robinson’s only head coaching experience was a three-year stint at Long Beach City College, where his teams were 61-39-5 from 1981-84.

With fall practice set to begin Sept. 30, Robinson’s departure leaves the Matadors with a coaching staff of one, a development Kernen is trying his best to shrug off.

“If you have good people around you, you have to expect they will have opportunities to go,” Kernen said. “With the top players, it’s the same thing. It comes with the territory.”

However, in this particular case, it comes at an extraordinarily bad time. At least when Craig Clayton and Scott Sharts signed professional contracts, they did it in June, when Kernen still had time to recruit replacements.

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“You would hope it wouldn’t be the fourth week in school before you find out you have to make a coaching change,” Kernen said.

Fall practice originally was set to start next Tuesday, but Kernen postponed it one week to concentrate on finding an assistant.

Under normal circumstances, Northridge would have to follow stringent state guidelines in advertising and searching for a replacement. But because of the timing of Robinson’s departure, Kernen is convinced he has “the strongest case in the history of the world” to secure an “emergency hire,” which would allow him to fill the position almost immediately.

“I will be looking for more than just a coach,” Kernen said. “I could use a professional fund-raiser that has never picked up a baseball more than I could use a guy who just coached baseball.”

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Most of Robinson’s work took place between the base lines, but Kernen said budget cuts have left Northridge lacking in areas other than teaching fundamentals.

“When you’re trying to play at the top level, the first thing you need are players,” he said. “The second thing you need is money, because without that, you don’t get players.”


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