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The Bucks Didn't Stop Here After All

October 02, 1985|KAREN KINGSBURY

Pierce baseball Coach Tim Collins has 50 players on his team.

As of a few weeks ago, every one of them was pitching.

They're throwing a dollar a week to pay Collins what the Los Angeles Community College District couldn't afford: a salary.

Collins is not on the teaching staff at Pierce because baseball was one of the classes cut from the fall curriculum. As a result, he won't make a dime from the district until baseball season begins in the spring.

The situation prompted a group of his players to reverse a trend in college athletics: The coach isn't paying players; the players are paying the coach.

"I know how hard he works, giving up his personal time for us," third baseman Joe Reda said. "I thought it would be nice to pitch in."

Any player who forgets to bring his dollar for the week will be sorry--and sore. Reda, who has organized the effort, has established a penalty of 15 laps around the Pierce baseball field for absent-minded teammates.

"We're all kind of irresponsible with remembering things like bringing money," Reda added. "If there's any incentive that would make us remember, it's having to run. Baseball players are notorious for disliking running."

The group, Collins included, is also known for its hard work despite the financial curves the district has thrown them this year.

The work began in August when Collins received free cement from Palacio's Construction to bring the batting cages and dugouts up to the standards of nearby high schools.

Collins and a few of the players spent two weeks in 108-degree weather laying the cement. They also pulled weeds, painted the dugout and built a pitching mound.

"He's worked very hard for us," Reda said. "A dollar a week isn't a lot for any guy to give, but when you add it up it's $100 every two weeks for him to spend on himself. You should have seen the smile on his face when we told him to sit down, and gave him the money."

But Collins, who spends 40 hours a week with the team and waits on tables 20 hours a week to pay his rent, isn't entirely happy about his players paying him.

"It's too bad it has to be this way," Collins said. "The bureaucratic bigwigs who run these junior colleges don't know what's happening at a good athletic program like Pierce. They're looking at dollars and cents. We're looking at life."

"We can't depend on a cent from (the district.) If we need a new helmet to protect a kid from a life-threatening blow to the head, and they don't think it's worth it, I'll just go out and raise the money myself," Collins said.

Add another pitcher to the Pierce staff.

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