Ken Gaylord, Long Beach City College--The Viking baseball coach took issue with an item in Sports Shorts last week that raised the question: Do community colleges live up to their names when many of their athletes did not attend local high schools? The item noted that the LBCC 25-man baseball roster includes 14 players who came from outside district boundaries. Gaylord said he receives several athletes by referrals from four-year colleges, and that a good part of the local "talent pool" is depleted because Long Beach is baseball-rich and many of its top high school players sign professional contracts or get scholarships to four-year schools. At the same time it creates opportunities for players from outside the area to earn starting berths. "At least now the players can go somewhere and show what they can do," he said.
PREP RE-LEAGUING CRITICIZED Dave Newell, Bell Gardens High School--The veteran football coach has charged that a new re-leaguing proposal removing Bell Gardens from the Whitmont League has "racial overtones." The proposal, adopted by an 11-10 vote of principals from the Suburban, Whitmont and San Gabriel Valley leagues, would create a fourth league from the 21 schools involved. Under the plan, Dominguez, Bell Gardens, Paramount, Lynwood and El Rancho high schools would form a new league. The current eight-team Whitmont League would be cut to six teams, while the Suburban League would be pared to five teams, with Artesia leaving to join Warren, Downey, Cerritos and Gahr in a new alignment. Newell said the proposal, which must receive approval from the Southern Section CIF, is using ethnic boundaries rather than comparable competitiveness to draw up the new leagues. "We're reverting to the 1960s," said Newell, who is white. Bell Gardens, El Rancho and Paramount have predominantly Latino student populations, while Lynwood and Dominguez are predominantly black. Newell said scheduling non-conference games in a five-team league would be difficult, particularly in football.
RON'S GONE Ron Palmer, Cal State Long Beach--Although Palmer had made up his mind to resign as men's basketball coach sometime last Friday, you certainly could not tell it by his actions that night at Long Beach City College. A drawn and tired Palmer was in attendance at the Mater Dei-St. Anthony Southern Section 5-A playoff game in an attempt to recruit two underclassmen--6-5 forward Kevin Rembert of Mater Dei and 6-foot guard Darrick Martin of St. Anthony. Palmer was adamant about Martin's abilities: "I like his headiness and all-around ability," he said. Palmer insisted that Martin has become the No. 1 future recruit for the Long Beach program.
SENTENCED Bill Simpson--The country's top draft pick in Major League baseball in 1976 from Lakewood High School was sentenced last week to 10 years in federal prison for his involvement in a cocaine smuggling ring. According to the United States attorney's office in Sacramento, Simpson was indicted by a federal grand jury in July. He pleaded guilty in December to one count of conspiring to distribute cocaine and two counts of illegal use of a telephone to further a conspiracy. The federal prosecutor in the case said the ring Simson was involved in was "one of the biggest cocaine importation rings in the United States." Simpson received a $50,000 bonus when he signed with the Texas Rangers after leading Lakewood to the Southern Section 4-A baseball championship. He was called up briefly by Texas but spent most of his time in the minor leagues before retiring in 1979. "I really feel for Bill," said former Lakewood Coach John Herbold, now at California State University, Los Angeles. "We still remember the things he did for us. But he sometimes lived in a fantasy world. It's scary. Drugs are everywhere in our society today."
STATE TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR Jim Cheffers, Whittier--The former commissioner of the City Section CIF has been appointed tournament director of the Southern Region state high school basketball playoffs. Cheffers, who retired as an administrator with the Los Angeles Unified School District last June 30, says he is looking forward to the challenge. "This gives me something to do," he said. "I enjoy it." Pairings for the event, which begins Tuesday, will be announced Sunday.
RESIGNED Gordon Ackerman, Artesia High School--The veteran basketball coach has ended months of speculation by announcing that he will retire at the end of the school year. Ackerman, 62, who was coach of the boys basketball team for 29 years, says he plans to move to Canyon Lake "to fish and play a lot of golf." No replacement has been named, although the school's girls basketball coach, Terry Goddard, is said to be a leading candidate. Goddard, however, is a school security guard and part-time coach and may not qualify for a teaching position that might accompany the coaching vacancy.