After 32 years as the winningest football coach in California high school history, Carson High's Gene Vollnogle has most of the answers but one burning question: Why don't the City 4-A champion and CIF Big 5 champion play to decide a true Southern California title team?
Many in the coaching ranks and media have clamored for such a match-up, to no avail.
It would extend the season another week, most officials argue, but Vollnogle says that still finishes the season before Christmas. And, he says, if the date is that big a consideration, most City coaches would be happy to do away with the open weekend following Thanksgiving. "I'd rather play that weekend, anyway," Vollnogle says.
It would be too many games, some say. "It's only two teams," Vollnogle answers.
"As far as I'm concerned this would be the championship of California. I can't understand why there's no game. Why can't people see what's right?"
Loyola Marymount University basketball star Forrest McKenzie has made it known he would like to be called Forrest McKenzie Walton, taking the name of his step-family. His two brothers go by the name Walton.
The problem is that Forrest has gained a fair amount of recognition in basketball circles--including a poster the school printed last year--and Loyola publicists are worried about the impact and confusion if they suddenly begin to list him as Forrest Walton.
The compromise will be to list him as Forrest Walton-McKenzie.
Casey Crawford, the 6-10 string-bean center from Leuzinger High who was considered one of the sleepers of last year's basketball recruiting class, will sit out his freshman season at Pepperdine because of a grades technicality similar to a ruling that affected Loyola Marymount's McKenzie last year.
Crawford had the necessary 2.0 grade-point average to enter Pepperdine, but school officials discovered that his physical education grades had been left off his transcript and without them his average dropped below the requirement. Pepperdine decided to redshirt him to play it safe.
"They did what was right," Pepperdine Coach Jim Harrick said. "If I was the athletic director in that situation I probably would have done the same thing. But it's semantics. It's a technicality. It's a very unfortunate situation. I just have a sick feeling for the young man."
Harrick said Crawford will try to remain in Pepperdine this year and work on his grades.
Name dropping: Serra High grads David and Stephen Williams are starting as receivers for the University of Illinois football team, according to Serra coaches. David, a senior and preseason All-American who led the nation in receiving last year, is playing flanker while little brother Stephen, a freshman, is playing split end. . . . Pepperdine University volleyball setter Lee Hoven leads West Coast Athletic Conference women in nearly every assist category. In league games she is first in assist percentage (.434) and assist average (11.15 per game). On the overall season she is first in average (11.83) and second in percentage (.417). Twin sister Lisa was named WCAC player of the week as Pepperdine clinched the league title. Both starred at Mira Costa High. . . . Cal State Dominguez Hills basketball player William Alexander received preseason Division II All-American honorable mention from Street & Smith's Basketball Yearbook. Alexander, a 6-4 junior, should be one of the top small forwards on the West Coast. . . . Wyoming University sophomore Eric Leckner, a Mira Costa High product, was the Cowboys' top scorer with 16 points in an international basketball exhibition with a Brazilian team.