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Rhoades Returns to Malibu : Baseball: Moorpark High coach named assistant at Pepperdine, his alma mater.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

In the 10 years since he played baseball at Pepperdine, David Rhoades dreamed of returning to the Malibu campus. He got his wish this week.

Call it an early birthday present. Rhoades, who turns 33 today, was hired as an assistant on Monday by Coach Pat Harrison.

“I fell in love with (Pepperdine) as a student,” said Rhoades, who played infield for the Waves in 1982 and ’83. “It’s still the same type of feeling there 10 years later. It’s a special thing for me. I’m excited.”

Rhoades leaves his post as coach at Moorpark High, where he led the Musketeers to a 69-41-1 record in five seasons. Last season, Moorpark won its third consecutive league championship. The Musketeers finished 20-5, winning the Frontier League before losing to South Pasadena, 1-0, in the second round of the Southern Section playoffs.

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Rhoades’ most memorable victory came on April 16, when Moorpark beat perennial power Simi Valley, 9-5, in the championship game of the Camarillo tournament. The victory dramatically demonstrated that Rhoades had turned around a program that once endured a 40-year playoff drought.

“The first thing I thought after accepting this job (at Pepperdine) was the parent support, the administrative support and the coaches I had at Moorpark,” Rhoades said Tuesday. “They’ve helped me grow and develop to the point where I’m ready to make this step.”

Rhoades said he applied for the Pepperdine head coaching job after Andy Lopez, who led the Waves to the 1992 NCAA title, resigned on June 20 to become coach at Florida. Harrison, former head coach at The Master’s College and an assistant at USC, Oral Roberts, Washington State and Oklahoma, offered Rhoades the assistant job last week.

Rhoades said he would accept only if he could find a part-time, morning teaching job. Hours later, Rhoades was hired by Oak View High, a continuation school in Agoura. Previously, he taught fifth grade at Arroyo West Middle School in Moorpark.

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Rhoades, a native of Hayden, Ariz., batted .289 for the Waves in 1982, his best season. He will coach outfielders and catchers on a staff that includes former Dodger and Angel pitcher Geoff Zahn.

“What a great opportunity it’s going to be for me to develop under Pat and Geoff Zahn,” Rhoades said. “Great things have happened here. And I know great things are going to happen in the future.”


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