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Dollar, 22, Is Named Head Coach at SCC

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

It seemed almost too good to be true when Cameron Dollar was introduced as Southern California College’s new men’s basketball coach Thursday at the Costa Mesa campus.

Dollar, 22, a former UCLA point guard who played a key role in the Bruins’ national championship run in 1995, spent last season as an assistant at UC Irvine.

“We feel fortunate to have someone of Cameron’s caliber,” SCC Athletic Director Bob Wilson said. “He’s a person of integrity and he brings an enthusiasm. He’ll be a breath of fresh air.”

Dollar replaced Bill Reynolds, 57, who retired after the team finished 19-15 last season. Reynolds won three Golden State Athletic Conference titles and compiled a 354-184 record in 17 seasons at SCC.

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“I can only hope to maintain and maybe even improve upon what Coach Reynolds established here,” Dollar said. “It’s always been a dream of mine to be a head coach. Now it’s time to be successful at it.”

Dollar is used to success. In high school, his teams won 90% of their games and at UCLA, he helped the Bruins win three Pac-10 championships. Last season, Dollar helped Irvine rebound from a 1-25 season to finish 9-18.

“I think everyone is impressed with Cameron’s maturity,” UC Irvine Coach Pat Douglass said. “I think he is ready, even at this tender age. He’ll do well as a recruiter and a public speaker. I think he is better suited to be a head coach than an assistant because he likes to call the shots.”

One player might follow Dollar to SCC. Junior Bond, a 5-foot-8 junior who started 22 of 27 games and led UC Irvine in assists, said Thursday he will seek his release Friday from Irvine and has already discussed transferring to SCC.

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Dollar said the SCC job was the first head coaching offer he received and he jumped at it.

So what was the biggest reason this former NCAA Division I assistant took the job at a Christian college with an enrollment fewer than 1,300?

“Christ,” Dollar said. “That’s the No. 1 reason. To be able to come here and continue to grow as a Christian, and at the same time, work with young men and help them grow, I couldn’t pass that up.”

SCC has only one returning starter--freshman Dennis Keane (16 points)--but some of the players are already looking forward to working with Dollar.

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“I loved watching him play,” said SCC freshman guard Cezar Cezar, who averaged five points and three assists last season. “The team is really excited about playing for him. He was definitely our top choice.”

Dollar said he plans to begin recruiting as early as next week but hasn’t set a timetable in finalizing his staff.

Dollar will take a full-time position and serve as an academic counselor at SCC. He will work with student athletes, coaches and academic advisors regarding the students’ academic progress and eligibility, Wilson said.

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Times staff writer Chris Foster contributed to this story.


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