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Camarillo Tries Hand at Damage Control : Softball: Job offer to widely respected alumna Nichole Victoria, 23, seen as an attempt to mollify parents angered at firing of popular coach.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Apparently seeking to placate enraged parents, Camarillo High has offered its softball coaching position to hometown heroine Nichole Victoria, perhaps the school’s finest female athlete.

Victoria, 23, who will graduate from UCLA in September, did not apply for the job and is unsure whether she will accept it. Athletic Director Carl Thompson contacted Victoria earlier this week with the offer.

“It . . . kind of caught me off guard,” said Victoria, who graduated from Camarillo in 1990. “I’m flattered and very interested, but it is kind of bad timing with some things going on in my life.”

Victoria also has an offer to coach softball and basketball at Maroa-Forsyth High in Decatur, Ill., where her fiance, John Mitsdarffer, is attending nearby MacMurray College.

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Camarillo parents and players only recently gave up their fight to have Darwin Tolzin reinstated as coach. Tolzin was fired in May after a rules-breaking Sunday practice he conducted with a player caused Camarillo to forfeit its second-round playoff victory over San Marcos.

A petition with about 150 signatures was handed to the Oxnard Union High School District board in June, a last-ditch effort to keep the popular Tolzin, whose teams won a Southern Section championship and two Marmonte League titles in his seven years as coach.

“In a way I don’t feel comfortable going into the job with everything that has happened,” Victoria said. “But the girls are great to work with and after talking to a couple of the parents, I don’t think I would have any trouble.”

Victoria, an all-conference catcher at UCLA who set numerous records in softball and basketball at Camarillo, helped out at several Scorpion practices last spring. She and the players developed a mutual admiration.

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“I have the utmost respect for her as a coach and player, she can teach us a lot of things,” said Jessica Ziese, Camarillo’s first baseman and the Marmonte League player of the year.

Catcher Jessica Mendoza said that Victoria gave her one-on-one instruction.

“She was friends with the players and I think a lot of people would be able to relate to her,” Mendoza said.

Victoria eventually wants to pursue a coaching career in Southern California, but she is reluctant to spend more time away from Mitsdarffer. She said her decision will be made “in a couple of days.”


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