Baseball coaches are lining up to replace Mike Gillespie, but not because it will be an easy task. Rather, they want to take over a baseball program that has won three of the past six state community college championships.
Gillespie, who guided College of the Canyons to 11 conference titles and a 418-165 record in 16 years, left the school this month to become coach at his alma mater, USC.
More than a dozen coaches have applied for the job he vacated, according to Lee Smelser, Canyons athletic director.
"We're getting some very strong candidates, including some from four-year university assistants," Smelser said. "We knew there would be a lot of interest because it's such a strong program already."
Among those who have applied are Len Mohney, Gillespie's top assistant for the past 10 years; Scott Muckey, coach at Valley, and Hart High Coach Frank Sanchez.
Mohney is the likely selection if Gillespie can't open an assistant's position for him at USC. Muckey's Valley teams have been one of the few Mountain Valley Conference teams to challenge Canyons over the past three years. Sanchez, who played for Gillespie at Canyons in 1971 and '72, is coach of the North Pole Nicks, a top amateur team in the Alaskan League. Before this spring, Gillespie had been head coach of the Nicks for the past three summers, with Sanchez serving as an assistant. The team won the National Baseball Congress championship last year.
"All three of those guys are strong candidates," Smelser said. "We have applications from all over, but I think we'd just as soon look in our own backyard first and then go from there."
Add Canyons: Ray Whitten has been hired to coach the Canyons softball team, replacing Smelser.
Smelser resigned from the coaching position when he replaced Gillespie as athletic director earlier this month. Whitten has been an assistant under Smelser for the past three seasons.
Smelser will continue to coach the men's basketball team.
Permanent golf vacation: Cal Lutheran replaced Bob Shoup as golf coach last week, but Athletic Director Bob Doering said the change had nothing to do with Shoup leaving on a vacation to Europe during the past golf season.
Shoup, who is also the football coach, surprised university officials in April by taking his vacation 11 days before his golf team was to play Point Loma for the National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics District 3 championship.
According to Doering, Shoup wanted to resign as golf coach after the end of the 1985 season but was asked to stay on another year. Midway through the past season, Shoup told Doering that he would not be returning as golf coach next year.
"He felt he needed more time to devote to the football program and his teaching duties," Doering said. "When you run a spring football program, that's in direct conflict with the golf season."
Shoup, 55, will begin his 25th season as football coach next fall. He was the golf coach for 10 seasons, winning two district titles. Cal Lutheran placed 15th in the NAIA national tournament this spring.
His replacement is Mike Andonian, 60, who has coached golf at Ventura High for the past 20 years.
Price of victory: If the fate of the Cal State Northridge football team rests on a last-minute goal-line stand sometime next season, Coach Bob Burt wants to know he's done everything possible to help prepare his team.
Even if it means raising $12,000.
That's the approximate price tag for about 90 football players and 10 coaches to eat, sleep and practice together during a week of football camp. But Burt believes it will be worth it.
"I think it's important from a team unity standpoint," Burt said. "To build the closeness we need as a team, there aren't many better ways than to have guys living, sweating, hurting, laughing and crying together 24 hours a day. It won't hurt for them to experience a little adversity and hardship together, either. Hopefully, it will make it a little easier for them to get tough and stick together on the goal line someday."
The team will stay in North Campus residence halls during two-a-day drills from Aug. 22-30.
"Most programs around the country do this," Burt said. "It's nothing new. Usually, teams do it for 14 or 15 days. They've never done it before here, though. Whether the reason was limited funds or limited emphasis, I don't know."
Burt said most of the money needed for the team's stay was raised in a benefit golf tournament Monday. "We have enough money to take care of about 70-75 guys," he said. "We're just a couple of thousand dollars away from what we need."