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Wanted: A top baseball coach for Granada Hills Kennedy

As if school administrators at Granada Hills Kennedy don't have enough to worry about with classes beginning on Aug. 18, there's a critical sports decision ahead: hiring a new baseball coach.

Kennedy doesn't just have any baseball program. It's one of best in the City Section, with a tradition of seven City Section championships and having produced the likes of Garret Anderson and Jon Garland. Ever since the school opened in 1971, baseball has been its most visible and successful sport.

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Athletic Director Kevin Kanemura announced on Thursday that the school was taking resumes until Aug. 21 looking for a new baseball coach after third-year Coach Andy Rodriguez stepped down.

In many ways, Rodriguez was a savior for the program. He was brought on after an ugly, incomprehensible battle between former Coach Manny Alvarado and the Los Angeles Unified School District. The program could have deteriorated rapidly, with players abandoning ship, but Rodriguez held it together. The Golden Cougars won the Valley Mission League title last season and had three very good seasons.

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There's always going to be talent at Kennedy, because it attracts players who love baseball, love their community and love upholding tradition.

But the pressure now falls on the administration to hire a coach who can lead on and off the field. Rodriguez was a former Alvarado assistant who knew what it meant to wear a Kennedy uniform.

Kennedy shouldn't settle for average. The job is too important for a school community that dreams every season about making it to Dodger Stadium.

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