Bittner Hoping for Strikeout

A possible strike in August by Ventura County Community College District teachers is making Jim Bittner, Moorpark College’s longtime football coach, quite uneasy.

“The last thing I want to see is a strike,” said Bittner, who is preparing for his 20th season with the Raiders. “I don’t want to hold practices and cross picket lines. It’s a no-win [situation] regardless of what I do.”

Bittner said the haggling between the district and the teachers at Moorpark, Oxnard and Ventura could be resolved by next week. He said the faculty union negotiators might have an offer from the district by then and a vote would be taken.

“My sources tell me [the negotiations] look a lot better at this point than last week,” Bittner said.


Bittner has guided the Raiders to 13 consecutive winning seasons, including bowl appearances in the last 10.

“I already had a meeting with the assistant coaches and told them they’d have to make their own decision,” Bittner said. “We might be able to field a team [if there’s a strike] but for the number of enemies we would make, it would put us in a difficult situation.”


Some people say there’s nothing free anymore but the hole in a doughnut.


Rich Igou and Lou Birdt say otherwise.

The two business partners on Wednesday launched a baseball web site available at no cost through the Internet.

“It’s an on-line [monthly] magazine for the players, coaches and parents to learn how to play the game,” Igou said. “We decided we wanted everybody to be able to have it, because some people might not be able to afford it.”

Igou, a left-handed pitcher who last season completed his senior season at Cal Lutheran, and Birdt, a former Kingsman pitcher who is pitching coach at Moorpark College, recently formed Peak Performance Group Sports.


They plan to offer instruction and information about training methods and equipment, books and videos, a recruiting service and player profiles.

Bryan Corey, a former infielder at Thousand Oaks High and Pierce College who pitches for the Arizona Diamondbacks, is the first player profiled.

“We asked him a bunch of questions other players can relate to,” Igou said.

Igou and Birdt recruited baseball coaches Mike Gillespie of USC, George Horton of Cal State Fullerton, Rich Hill of San Diego and Geoff Zahn of Michigan, plus softball coaches Janet Sherman of Cal State Northridge and Judi Garman of Fullerton to contribute instructional articles.


The web site is


See Mark run . . . and run . . . and run.

Mark Covert, cross-country and track coach at Antelope Valley College since 1990, is nearing a monumental milestone.


Next Thursday, Covert will celebrate the 30th anniversary of running at least three miles each day. He’ll do it, of course, by running with the Marauder cross-country team in the morning.

Covert, 47, has covered more than 118,000 miles and worn out about 400 pairs of shoes.

Here are some facts about The Streak, courtesy of Glenn Haller, Antelope Valley’s sports information director:

* Longest run: 52 miles


* Shortest run: 3 miles

* Biggest week: 210 miles

* Smallest week: 27 miles

Covert ran six miles the day he married his wife, Debi, in 1979. He ran the days their four children were born. He even ran wearing Army boots one month while healing from a broken foot suffered--how else?--during a run in 1982.


“By far, that was the most difficult,” Covert said. “It was so sore after three weeks, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to keep running.

“That’s the only time I thought the streak might end.”