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West continues Indian tradition

Jeff Tully

Burroughs High has a fine reputation of churning out successful

college football players.

However, along with success on the field, the Indian program also


has an impressive track record of preparing players for the future,

as well as helping them make their way to prestigious universities.

The latest in the line of successful student-athletes is senior

Alan West. The 6-foot-2, 260-pound defensive lineman has committed to


play at University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy-League powerhouse.

“We try to convey to our players that there is more to life than

just football,” Burroughs Coach Keith Knoop said. “They realize that

if they want to play at the college level, they have to take care of

their academics.”

To make sure the Indian players stay on the right academic path,

Knoop and his staff initiate grade checks every five weeks. If an

athlete is having problems with his studies, the coaches guide him to


specific counseling and study groups to help him get back on track.

“I haven’t figured it out for this year yet,” Knoop said. “But for

last year, for all of our football levels, I think we had something

like 98% of our players who had a 2.4, or better, grade-point


“Education is important in our program and we do all that we can

to prepare them for life after high school.”

Knoop also receives help keeping players academically on track


from the Burroughs administration.

“Not just Coach Knoop, but all of our coaches have access to my

computer system to keep track of players’ grades,” said Jay Gudzin,

Burroughs vice principal of academics and athletics. “We also utilize

the NCAA Clearinghouse so players can see what is expected of them at

a particular college.”

During Knoop’s six-year tenure as Burroughs coach, the program has

turned out its share of Ivy League players. West joins Joey Learman

(class of 1998; Columbia), Kyle Cremarosa (1999; Harvard) and Keith

Jarbo (2001; Brown) who have earned their way to institutions of

higher learning.

“The Ivey League schools are not easy to get into, academic wise,”

Knoop said. “They have certain standards that they are looking for.

At Harvard, I think if you don’t get at least a 1,320 on the

[Scholastic Achievement Test], they won’t even look at you.”

West -- who had his pick of just about every Ivy League school --

had no problem achieving that standard, as he scored a 1,370 on the

SAT. He also has a 4.4 grade-point average.

“The great thing about Coach Knoop and the other coaches is that

their help doesn’t stop with school and football,” West said. “They

help us with our problems and we can go to them if we are having

trouble in our family lives.”

West will study business at Penn.

“I want to get into business management,” West said. “I want to

run my own company some day.”

Along with his success in the classroom, West -- a Leader All-Area

first-team and All-Foothill League first-team selection -- has also

been a force on the football field as well. Along with 115 1/2

tackles last season, he ended his Indian career with 26 1/2 career

sacks, putting him second on the school’s all-time list.

In 2002, the Indians went 5-6 and advanced to the first round of

the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs, losing to La Verne

Damien, 17-14.

West joins a Penn program that is one of the best in Division IAA.

In 2002, the Quakers went 9-1, 7-0 in the Ivy League, rolling to an

Ancient Eight championship. The team ended the season ranked 17th in

the USA Today/ESPN poll.

The Quakers also became just the fourth program in conference

history to place nine players on the All-Ivy League first team.

Eighteen Penn players were honored on the all-league squad.

“I was so happy with the college when I visited that I canceled my

recruiting trip to Dartmouth and decided to go to [Penn],” West said.

“I loved the coaching staff, they really made me feel comfortable. I

am really excited about playing there.”

West also said he got some advice about choosing a college from a

pair of former Indians.

“I was actually a sophomore when Jarbo was here going through the

process,” he said. “He helped me a lot and really told me what to

expect. I also called Cremarosa and he was very helpful. I was really

able to learn a lot from both of them.”

Penn has thrived under the direction of Coach Al Bagnoli, who has

spent 11 seasons at the college and has a .761 career winning percentage. His teams have captured five Ancient Eight titles. Along

with being named Maxwell Football Club’s Coach of the Year, he was

also a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award.

“The team will have a lot of seniors next season,” Knoop said. “So

Alan will go in next year as a freshman and learn as much as he can.

But after 2003, it looks like a position will be wide open for him.”

Said West: “There is a really good chance I could stat as a

junior, or maybe even as a sophomore.”