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Walk-ons often walk away

Walk-ons often walk away

The Orange County Register
Steve Fryer, Register high schools columnist

Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:

The recent resignations of Laguna Beach boys basketball coach Mark Hill and girls basketball coach Stacey Howard reiterate the challenges schools have when they hire walk-on coaches - coaches who are not full-time faculty members - to varsity head-coaching positions. Smaller schools, like Laguna Beach, often are restricted to hiring only walk-ons for key assignments and frequently lose them because of better-paying or more-secure employment opportunities elsewhere. "It's hard to keep those walk-on coaches," Laguna Beach athletic director Ron Schwartz said, "and that affects the continuity of your athletic programs."

The Power Lifting Championships will be held for the 27th year on Saturday at San Clemente, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in the school gym. Oceanside won the contest the past two years. Mission Viejo won it in 2002.

Former Aliso Niguel football coach Joe Wood has been added to the football coaching staff at San Clemente. Eric Patton is the head coach at San Clemente, and Wood was an assistant to Patton when Patton was the head coach at Capistrano Valley. Wood was the only football coach in Aliso Niguel history, taking the job in 1993, before being relieved of his duties for reasons unknown (and, from what has been learned, not terribly serious) at Aliso after the 2004 season.

The Spring Kicking Competition for high school football kickers and punters was held over the weekend at Laguna Beach. Winners included Joe Robles of Tesoro, for kickoff distance and field goal accuracy; Edison's Kyle Vandenbos, for kickoff hang time; and Dan Prause of Laguna Hills was honored for top cumulative points accrued in a variety of categories.

Capistrano Valley will have an alumni basketball game June 8 in the school gym at 7 p.m. Proceeds from the $5 tickets will go to Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Villa Park will retire the No.28 baseball jersey of Ryan Ferguson today before their 3 p.m. home game against El Modena. Ferguson was an All-Century League pitcher at Villa Park in 1997. He passed away in 2000 from a cerebral hemorrhage.

A good baseball team in the Sunset League is not going to make the playoffs. Only the top three finishers in the league will go to the CIF-Southern Section Division I playoffs, which begin May 17, and there are no at-large berths for fourth-place teams in baseball. The three Sunset teams tied for first - Esperanza, Los Alamitos and Marina - are in the county top 10; Edison, just a game behind and in the "others receiving votes" category in the county rankings, would be out of the playoffs if the season had ended this past weekend.

A similar situation exists in Sea View League softball. Three league teams - Foothill, Aliso Niguel and Laguna Hills - are in the county top 10, and a fourth, Woodbridge, is in the "others considered" category. And only three of those teams are going to the playoffs, which begin for softball May 18 with wild-card games.

Huntington Beach boys swimming coach Cory Tague's idea, published in these pages Tuesday, to have an Orange County Championships is a great one - and a "why didn't somebody else think of that" idea. There are Orange County Championships in volleyball, cross country, and track and field. So why not in swimming?

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