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SoCalHoops Coaching News

More Local High School &
JUCO Coaching Changes--(May 9, 2000)

Some random news and notes about some of the coaching changes we haven't yet reported on in the region for both boys' and girls' high school teams, and one JUCO change which was announced today:

Boys' Basketball

Agoura:  Joe Riccio, the athletic director at Santa Paula High for the last 10 years, has been hired as boys' basketball coach at Agoura.  Riccio, 46, replaces Bill Sanchez, who resigned in March, saying he was frustrated with a lack of administrative support for the program. Riccio hasn't coached in high school since guiding the Santa Paula girls' team to an 86-58 record from 1989-95. Agoura was 40-60 during Sanchez's four years as coach, and this year failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in three years.

Estancia HS:  Estancia boys basketball coach Rich Boyce has told the LA Times that he will know by May 12 if he will take the head coaching job at Edison High in Orange County. Boyce told the Times that he was still pondering the move, which some believe is only awaiting word from Edison about creating a teaching opening for Boyce.

Foothill:  According to the Orange County Register Tom McCluskey is expected to be approved by the Tustin Unified School District as the new boys basketball coach at Foothill High. McCluskey was hired as the boys basketball coach at Tustin in April of 1999, but resigned after one month, citing personal reasons. He had previously coached at Tustin for five seasons and resigned after the 1991-92 season to become an assistant coach at Saddleback College. After two seasons at Saddleback, McCluskey was Golden West College's head coach from 1994-95 through the 1997-98 season. His record at Golden West was 38-86. At Tustin, McCluskey compiled a 109-40 record and coached the Tillers to the 1991 CIF State Division II championship

Los Angeles High School: Hernando Plannels, who coached the LA High School boys' team this past year, has resigned and will pursue other coaching opportunities.  It is believed that Greg Gomez, the former JV coach at Harvard-Westlake will get the job. The LA Times carried a small story on Plannels, and they reported that  Planells, 23, said he resigned so he can finish his education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas this fall, and work with the Rebels men's basketball team as an unpaid assistant. "First off I'd like to thank everyone at L.A. High for giving me the opportunity," Planells told the Times. "It was tough for me to leave and I'll miss everyone, but this was a good time and an opportunity for me to finish up my degree and to learn from a good college basketball program."  In his only season with the boys' team, the Romans posted a 4-12 record and had to overcome numerous injuries, many to key players. Last year Planells helped resurrect the Romans girls' basketball program as an assistant to head coach Michael Flot. As a result, the Romans reached the playoffs for the first time since winning the Los Angeles City Section title 26 years ago.   Planells will major in physical education and will complete his degree in about 18 months. After that he said he would like to return to coaching, eventually at the college level.

LA Cleveland:  Adam Leavitt, who coached part of the last season with and without his former co-coach James Morris, will be the head coach next season at Cleveland.   Last season, both Leavitt and Morris started the season coaching together.   Early in the year, Leavitt was relieved of his coaching duties and Morris coached the team alone;  midway through the season though, Morris was terminated and Leavitt was rehired to coach the team. Leavitt, who had been a walk-on coach, will now move to a teaching position on the campus (he has been teaching at an LAUSD elementary school nearby).  The word is that Jack Pollon, formerly the head coach at Valley Torah, may be an assistant next season at Cleveland.

Simi Valley Royal HS: Larry Wiksell, the boys' basketball coach at Royal High for the last eight years, has stepped down so he can spend more time with his two daughters.  Wiksell, 34, decided to resign because his wife Terri is being considered for a promotion that would require more travel.  Royal was 102-89 under Wiksell and qualified for the playoffs six times.  The Highlanders (14-12) finished third in the Marmonte League last season and advanced to the second round of the Southern Section Division I-A playoffs.  

Girls' Basketball

Buckley: Bird Newman-Milic, who coached the Buckley girls' team to the Round of 16 this season, losing to eventual Southern Section Champions St. Anthony by only one point at the buzzer, has resigned and will seek other coaching opportunities; he will function as a scout for an NBA team while exploring other coaching opportunities.

Alemany:  Head coach Melissa Herlihy has resigned to take the Harvard-Westlake job which was earlier vacated when Brian Taylor resigned last month (see below).

Harvard-Westlake: Melissa Herlihy, who led Alemany to 11 league titles in the Mission League, has decided to switch to league rival Harvard-Westlake and will be the head coach there next season. Herlihy also won three Southern Section titles, and overall won 350 games in 15 seasons at the Mission Hills school. Hearlihy, who will finish the school year at Alemany, won't begin coaching her new team until summer league. She replaces Brian Taylor, who won 100 games, three Mission League championships and one section title in four seasons. Taylor, who played 10 seasons in the NBA, announced his resignation as coach last month. He will continue to work in Harvard-Westlake's admissions department. No replacement has yet been named at Alemany.

Upland: Adrienne Betz has been hired as the girls' basketball coach at Upland. Betz, who teaches at Diamond Ranch High School in Pomona, will be an on-campus coach at Upland. She replaces Tim Confair, a walk-on coach who was let go after one season. The chemistry teacher becomes the first on-campus girls' basketball coach at Upland in eight years.

Troy HS:  Fullerton Troy has hired former Marina HS girls' basketball coach Pete Bonny to serve as an assistant to Kevin Kiernan, who will return as head coach. Bonny coached at Marina for 10 years, his tenure ending after the 1998-99 season.  In his 10 years, the Vikings won six Sunset League championships and claimed the CIF Southern Section Division I-A championship with a victory over San Clemente in the March '98 final. Bonny currently is a teacher at Orange View Junior High in Anaheim, and will continue to run their junior high PE department. Kiernan guided Troy to an appearance in the 2000 Division I-A title game last March, where the Warriors were defeated by J.W. North.


Antelope Valley College: According to the LA Times (5/9) Jackie Lott has been removed as women's basketball coach at Antelope Valley College and reassigned to teaching classes.  Lott's 10-season tenure with the Marauders included several confrontations with players and assistants. In December, Lott dismissed freshman forward Fran Mitchell from the team during a tournament in Monterey. Lott allegedly used a racial slur in a confrontation with Mitchell, who is African-American, but this incident was not one of the reasons cited by the administration for the coaching change.  Lott had a 142-145 record with the Marauders.

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