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Ron Palmer, Long Beach Basketball Coach, Resigns

March 03, 1987|DICK WAGNER | Times Staff Writer

Ron Palmer, saying that he was tired of the pressure, resigned Monday as men's basketball coach at Cal State Long Beach.

Palmer, who is 23-63 at Long Beach since making the rare jump from high school to Division I three seasons ago, will coach the 49ers Thursday night against top-ranked Nevada Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. tournament at the Forum. That is expected to be the team's last game of the season.

Athletic Director John Kasser said there will be a national search for a new coach. One of the more popular candidates is expected to be Ed Ratleff, a 49er assistant and a star player for the team in the early 1970s.

"I'm just tired--and a little bit frustrated," Palmer said. "If we'd have won 17, 18 or 19 games, I wouldn't be making this decision."

But the 49ers are only 12-18 overall after closing the regular season with seven straight defeats. They made the tournament because their 7-11 conference record was good enough for eighth place.

Palmer had been optimistic in January when the 49ers were 5-1 and in second place, quite a turnaround for a team that hadn't been out of last place during his first two years.

But the quick return to losing has gnawed at Palmer. He has lost weight and sometimes became sick before games.

"I've got to get away from the pressure, and the biggest pressure comes from me," Palmer said. "No one here has said, 'You have to win.' "

Until he came to Long Beach--after Dave Buss was fired in 1984--Palmer had rarely lost. His teams had won 271 games in his 11-year career at Long Beach Poly High School. But in his first two seasons with the 49ers, he was 4-23 and 7-22.

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