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Family Reunion Goes Courtside

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Butch Hawking says the telephone calls with his father have been less frequent in the last several weeks.

“We’ve talked, but the conversations seemed to have gotten a lot shorter,” he said.

Apparently, neither wants to risk providing any inside information to the other.

It’s all part of the friendly little family rivalry building for Monday night, when Coach Bob Hawking’s Cal State Fullerton men’s basketball team plays at Kansas State, a team his son helps coach.

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Butch Hawking is in his first season as a Kansas State assistant under Tom Asbury, after spending a year at Cal State Northridge.

It will be only the second time they’ve been opponents.

The other time was in the 1988-89 season when Butch was a freshman player at the Air Force Academy, and his father was an assistant at Pepperdine under Asbury.

“It was in a tournament in Nebraska, and I remember when Butch came into the game, Asbury looked over and shoved me a little and said, ‘Do you want to go over to the other bench now?’ ” Hawking said.

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Pepperdine won that game, but the Titan coach will have his work cut out trying to keep that perfect record against his son in the 6 p.m. (PST) game in 13,500-seat Bramlage Coliseum.

Kansas State, which finished 17-12 last season, returns three starters, including 6-foot-9, 230-pound Manny Dies, a first-team selection on the Big 12 Conference’s preseason all-star team. Dies averaged 15.7 points and 7.6 rebounds last year when the Wildcats tied for seventh in the Big 12. Kansas State also has 6-11 center Shawn Rhodes and 6-6 guard Paco May returning.

“One thing I know for certain is that Fullerton is going to come in here really well-prepared and trying to kick our tail,” Butch said.

Butch played for his father at Simi Valley High on teams that included Don MacLean, who went on to become UCLA’s all-time leading scorer and is in the NBA. Simi Valley was 81-9 in that three-year period, winning a Southern Section championship.

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“I think I’ve patterned just about everything I do after my father,” Butch said. “He’s always been the first one in the gym and the last one to leave. I’d like to make the kind of impression on the players I coach that my father did on me.”

Hawking said he’s not surprised his son has gone into coaching.

“It’s not something I advised him to do,” he said. “But it seems like he’s always been a natural for it. He’s always been a gym rat. I’ve always said he was dribbling when he was still drooling. And he’s always played point guard, and been involved in running the game plan on the floor.

“And he’s seen the good, the bad and the ugly of what it’s like in coaching when he was growing up, so nothing about it should come as a surprise to him. The highs are high and the lows are low, and he knows that.”

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Butch said he frequently accompanied his father on scouting trips in high school. “When it came time for the playoffs, we would have seen nearly all of the top teams,” he said. “I learned a lot that way.”

Butch, 28, began his career coaching the Air Force Academy Preparatory School team for two years as part of his Air Force commitment. He was a maintenance officer for a fighter squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, the final three years.

But it was only a matter of time before he returned to coaching. “It was always in the back of my mind,” he said. It also is not unexpected that the younger Hawking would be working for Asbury.

“Butch started going to Pepperdine’s camps when he was just a little kid,” Bob Hawking said. “He’s known Tom for about 20 years.”

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Asbury was an assistant under Jim Harrick at Pepperdine, then took over as coach when Harrick went to UCLA. Asbury moved to Kansas State in 1994 after leading the Waves to three NCAA tournament appearances in four years, and is in his fifth season with the Wildcats.

Butch is the oldest of three children. A daughter, Kristin, is attending Cal State Fullerton after competing for two years in track and cross-country at Arizona State.

Another son, Quinn, is a promising sophomore basketball player at Sonora High.

Another Hawking to play for his father someday? Or maybe his brother?

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“I don’t know about that,” Bob Hawking said, grinning. “But I have one advantage. I know his mother better than any of the other recruiters.”


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