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Basketball History

January 09, 1986|PAUL McLEOD | Times Staff Writer

In his 13th season at Long Beach City College, basketball Coach Bill Fraser has compiled a won-loss record of 295-120. In a career that includes 9 years as head basketball coach at Wilson High, his statistics are 438-218. In 1983, Fraser became LBCC's winningest coach, passing Charlie Church , who had 235. Here is a list compiled by The Times of some of the most successful basketball coaches at Long Beach high schools and colleges. Through games of Jan. 5 NAME COACHING WINS IN LONG BEACH Charlie Church: (Poly and Long Beach CC) 438 A local legend. Church began his career as a coach on the "B" level at Poly. He took over the varsity in 1931. Teams he coached won three Southern Section titles and wound up second once. His Long Beach total would have been much greater but he spent 1942-46 in the service as a coach and soldier. During those years, he lost just one game and his armed forces basketball teams were thought to be good enough to have been competitive with the top college teams of the decade. He returned to Poly in 1948 and completed his tenure on the high school level with a 203-60 mark. In 1949, he became head coach at Long Beach City College. In 11 years he compiled a 235-108 mark. His Viking record stood for 34 years.

Bill Fraser: (Wilson and Long Beach CC) 438 Fraser began his career in 1958 as a junior varsity basketball and track coach at Wilson. He was 143-98, including two Moore League titles, as the Bruins' varsity coach. In 1973, he moved to Long Beach City College, where he has averaged 23 wins a year. He surpassed Church's LBCC mark in 1983. He is now 295-120 (71.1%) at the school.

Jack Errion: (St. Anthony) 319 Still active in coaching at Corona del Mar High in Newport Beach, Errion spent 22 seasons at St. Anthony. Although teams he coached averaged only 14.5 wins a year, "S.A." was known as a strong basketball school under his tutelage. He began at the school in 1954. The Saints never won a Southern Section title, but Errion has won two 3-A basketball titles at Corona del Mar. This season, Corona del Mar is (11-2) and the fourth-rated team in Orange County.

Howard Lyon: (Avalon, Poly and Millikan) 296 Now, Lyon is the co-head coach of Biola University. In 1956, he replaced the popular basketball coach of Poly, Del Walker. Walker had just guided the Jackrabbits to a Southern Section title. Despite records of 24-9, 17-11 and 21-7, Lyon never won a Southern Section title. He moved to Millikan in 1959, where he got his 100th career win. In 1970 Millikan won the Southern Section 4-A title, beating Monrovia, 68-37. At Biola he has extended his personal streak to more than 600 wins.

Ben Palmgren: (Jordan) 274 Palmgren spent 19 years at the North Long Beach campus. He began his career in 1946, and when he retired had coached in 485 games. Teams he coached never made it to the Southern Section finals. Panther staff member Bob Cook was one of his players.

Ron Palmer: (Poly, Cal State LB) 255 Palmer averaged 25 wins a year at Poly. He won four Southern Section titles and in 1984 won a state crown. In his rookie year at Cal State Long Beach (1984-85), the 49ers were 4-23. The team is off to a 4-9 start this year. At Poly, Palmer had just 51 losses.

Bill Odell: (Millikan) 224 Odell picked up his 200th win with a 75-65 victory over Glenn High in late 1983. Still head coach at Millikan, he doubles as athletic director. Millikan was 10-14 in 1985 and is 5-6 this season. Odell has 135 losses.

Will Foerster: (Poly) 192 Foerster took over from Bill Mulligan at Poly in the 1964-65 season and immediately won the Southern Section 4-A title with a 90-48 win over North Torrance at the Long Beach Arena. Poly was the 4-A runner-up a season later. Foerster lost 67 games at Poly before leaving the city for Lakewood High. He continued on the varsity level there until 1980.

Del Walker: (Poly) 153 Although he is well known among longtime Long Beach residents for his golfing accomplishments, Walker went 153-66 as a basketball coach at Poly. In 1956 the Jackrabbits defeated Montebello, 74-63, at Long Beach City College to win the Southern Section 4-A title. Walker went on to become a golf coach and the athletic director at LBCC. He retired at the end of the 1974 season. He still resides in his Virginia Country Club home and is the golf coach at Cal State Long Beach.

Bill Mulligan: (Poly) 150 Mulligan went out a winner at Poly. His 1964 team beat Pius X, 60-58, in overtime to win the Southern Section 4-A title. The following year, he took an assistant position at USC. Two years later he became the head coach at Riverside City College, where he won five Mission Conference titles. In 1975, he went to Saddleback College, compiling a 136-31 record and winning another four Mission titles. In his sixth season as head coach at UC Irvine, Mulligan has a 94-61 overall record. UCI is 6-5.

Jerry Tarkanian: (Cal State Long Beach) 122 After a seven-year stretch on the California community college circuit, "Tark" put Cal State Long Beach on the map. From 1968-73, the 49ers averaged more than 24 wins a year. He lost only 20 games at "The Beach." He is in his 13th season as coach at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Tarkanian leads the nation's active four-year coaches with the most career wins, 634-122. UNLV is 12-2 for the season.

SOURCES--First Interstate Bank Athletic Foundation, Southern Section Media Guide, Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. Media Guide, Times reports.

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