Cal State Northridge, which begins formal practice today, has added three community college transfers to its football roster.
Joining the Matadors are Bob Kistner, a 6-3, 250-pound offensive lineman from San Bernardino Valley College; LaVelle Brown, a 6-2, 225-pound fullback from San Francisco City College, and Kern Carson, a 5-10, 170-pound defensive back from San Diego Mesa.
Along with the new faces at practice is a familiar one with a new physique and a different position.
Rocky Palamara, who was 6-3 and 230 pounds when he enrolled at Northridge this spring, has gained 20 pounds over the summer. An All-American tight end at Saddleback College last fall, Palamara will play defensive tackle for the Matadors.
"He originally wanted to play defense in college, but Saddleback was short at the tight end position so he filled the void," Northridge Coach Bob Burt said. "We think he'll be a big help to us on defense."
Burt was hired by CSUN in January and inherits a team that was 4-7 last year. The Matadors' season opener is Sept. 12 at Sonoma State.
Missing In Action: Three players Burt hoped to have on the squad this season are missing, including the team's leading receiver.
Kenny Garrett and Charles Collins, who had 92 pass receptions last season between them, are academically ineligible and have left school.
Garrett led the Matadors with 54 catches for 614 yards and 3 touchdowns. Collins had 38 receptions for 557 yards. He was also the team's leading kick returner (746 yards) and top punt returner (97 yards).
A third player, defensive tackle Jim Hiller from Willows High in Northern California, has decided to stay close to home and attend a community college.
Burt said he is hopeful that Hiller will attend Northridge in two years.
The Untold Story: When Jim Fenwick resigned as football coach at Pierce College in February, he gave two reasons.
One was that he was fed up with the uncertain future of athletic programs in the Los Angeles Community College District in general, and the funding for his program in particular. Also, a position as a voluntary assistant coach at Cal State Northridge fulfilled his longstanding desire to work in a four-year program.
Not mentioned was the instability of his other job as a physical education instructor at Pierce. Although that job was not threatened by layoffs in the Los Angeles district, Fenwick wasn't sure at which of the nine district schools he would be teaching.
It won't be Pierce.
Fenwick has been transferred to Valley College, where he will continue to teach physical education classes in the fall.
The transfer had been expected in the wake of the June 30 district layoffs that furloughed six physical education instructors and 23 part-time coaches. Because of the cutbacks, intra-district transfers were necessitated to fill positions in hard-hit programs, according to the district.
Fenwick could have been transferred from Pierce to any of the district's other eight schools. That could have posed a problem were he still coaching at Pierce, because Fenwick might have had to commute between teaching and coaching assignments.
Which, as it turns out, is precisely what he will be doing anyway.
Valley Bowl: With the loss of the Pierce football program, there will be only two junior college football programs in the Valley in 1986. Under a new state alignment, Moorpark will play in the Western State Conference and Valley will be in the Southern California Conference.
In most years, that would make for an ideal bowl match should both teams win their conference.
Not this year.
Official practice is set to begin Friday, and neither conference is assured of having a postseason bowl game to play in, according to Stu Van Horn, public information officer for the California Assn. of Community Colleges.
"There has been no progress," Van Horn said Wednesday. "At this point, we will have five games for sure. We hope to have eight, and I'm confident we will, but there are details that have to be worked out."
Of the five bowl games that are committed for 1986, none would automatically include the champion of either the Western State or Southern California conferences.
"But you never know who will wind up 10-1 and get a bid," Van Horn said.
Moorpark and Valley aren't waiting for the state to complete its bowl schedule. The teams will scrimmage Sept. 6 at Moorpark--and then hope for a rematch at the end of the season.
Both teams open the regular season Sept. 13, with Valley playing Ventura at home, and Moorpark traveling to L.A. Harbor.
Putting Around: In community college golf, six players constitute a team.
Pierce golf Coach Bob O'Connor, however, has 20 potential players enrolled for the fall semester, and he'd like more.
O'Connor, the former Pierce athletic director, has grand plans for his new program.
"I want to win a state championship within two to three years," he said.
He's not having much trouble selling his his product to recruits. Consider what O'Connor has to offer:
A trip to Hawaii.
A trip to Monterey/San Francisco.
A soon-to-be-completed putting and chipping green on the Pierce campus.
Plans to construct a caged driving range, similar to a batting cage, with leftover equipment from the defunct football program.
"We've never recruited before," O'Connor said. "But with the time I used to devote to being athletic director, I've been able to go to a number of Southern California meets and get some players.
"We have about six or seven guys who are three-handicappers or better, and I've been told that that should put us in contention for a state championship. But I give us two years."