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Notebook / Mitch Polin : Basketball Coach Westphal's Back and Occidental's Glad

September 25, 1986|MITCH POLIN

It was a happy homecoming for Bill Westphal at Occidental College, where he will pick up where he left off as men's basketball coach.

Occidental, which has not finished above the .500 mark since Westphal left in 1980, is hoping it will also mark a return to prosperity for the basketball program.

It was at Occidental where Westphal had his greatest success as a coach. He coached the Tigers from 1973-1980, posting a 111-77 record and guiding Occidental to three Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles and four berths in post-season play.

An All-CIF player at Aviation High in Redondo Beach and a three-year varsity player at USC, Westphal left Occidental to become an assistant with the San Diego Clippers for two years and was coach of Western Washington University for three years.

But soon after leaving Western Washington to pursue a business opportunity in Phoenix, Westphal found that he missed coaching and applied for the Occidental position after Mike Zinn resigned.

"I'm happy to be back in coaching, particularly in a private school," Westphal said. "Business pays more, but it's no fun compared to coaching. That's what I do best and that's what I enjoy."

And Occidental is happy to have him back.

Two Claremont High standouts from last season are making an immediate impact on the University of Iowa football program.

Prep All-American quarterback Dan McGwire is one of three quarterbacks listed at No. 2 on the depth chart for the defending Big 10 Conference champion Hawkeyes. All-state wide receiver Travis Watkins is also No. 2 at his position.

Watkins, 6-1 and 175 pounds, played most of the game in Iowa's season opener against Iowa State and caught one pass. McGwire (6-8, 235) played briefly and threw an incomplete pass.

Both had an impressive senior season at Claremont. McGwire completed 204 of 332 passes for 3,172 yards and 33 touchdowns and Watkins caught 104 passes for 1,703 yards and 21 touchdowns.

Claremont Coach Bob Baiz said he is not surprised by their success. "We felt they could come in and play right away, but we're prejudiced, of course," Baiz said. "Even the coaches at Iowa felt so but they weren't making any promises."

Another former Claremont star, defensive lineman Bob Graff, is a redshirt freshman for San Diego State.

Two of the longest winning streaks in the CIF Southern Section are held by San Gabriel Valley teams, two weeks into the prep football season.

Muir, which has easily defeated Monrovia (35-12) and Long Beach Jordan (31-10), has a 12-game winning streak--second longest in the Southern Section behind Canyon of Saugus (40 games).

Right behind Muir is Claremont, which won its 11th straight game with a 34-0 victory over Ganesha last week. Claremont, two-time defending CIF Eastern Conference champion, has won 29 of its last 30 games.

Another long winning streak by a valley team came to an end last week when Colton defeated Charter Oak, 34-28, ending a 14-game streak for the Chargers.

Two other valley teams also ended long streaks recently, but they are not unhappy about it.

Glendora is celebrating after snapping a 14-game losing streak with a 10-9 upset of West Covina last week. It was the first win for the Tartans since Nov. 11, 1984.

South Pasadena has gone a step further. After ending its 12-game losing streak with a season-opening win over Mayfair (19-14), the Tigers won their second straight under first-year Coach Fred Cuccia with a 9-7 decision over Hoover last week.

The 1986 Super Prep Pre-Season All-America team includes three valley high school players: West Covina tight end and linebacker Tom Lassalette (6-4, 230), Pomona defensive back Leonard Hudson (6-2, 175) and Ganesha defensive lineman Antonio Johnson (6-5, 265).

It is not the only All-American team the players have made. Lassalette also made the pre-season squad of Houston-based super scout Max Emfinger and the Street & Smith Magazine team, Hudson was named to the Emfinger team and Johnson was listed in Street & Smith.

Unfortunately, Johnson will miss at least the first six weeks of the season because of academic problems.

Pasadena High, which always seems to have its share of talented football players, may have two top prospects in sophomores Terry McDaniels and Chris Jeter.

Both were impressive in their varsity debut for the Bulldogs against Damien last week. McDaniels, 6-5 and 230 pounds, is an offensive tackle and Jeter, 6-1 and 175, is a linebacker.

Jeter is a nephew of Los Angeles Rams lineman Gary Jeter.

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