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Plan Approved to Unite Community Colleges in Football Conference

November 11, 1987|STEVE KRESAL | Times Staff Writer

A proposal was approved Tuesday to align all five football-playing Orange County community colleges in the same conference starting in the fall of 1988.

Mission Conference athletic directors, meeting at Saddleback College, voted, 7-2, to allow Golden West and Fullerton into the conference.

Golden West and Fullerton will join Rancho Santiago, Saddleback, Orange Coast, San Diego Mesa, San Diego City, Grossmont, Southwestern, Palomar and Riverside in the football-only conference.

It will be the first time Orange County's five community college football teams have played in the same conference.

Fullerton and Golden West requested admission in a letter sent to Dick Tucker, conference president and Orange Coast athletic director, in October.

Schools are allowed to move to different conferences in odd years under the state athletic code, but once they move, they must stay in that conference four years.

"It's a positive move for everyone," said Tom Hermstad, Golden West athletic director. "We're going for it and I hope it works out. It will at least solve the scheduling problems for us in football."

There is no set football schedule for the conference yet, but the football coaches will determine one when they meet two weeks after the regular season ends Nov. 21. The conference must have an approved schedule to present to the state by Jan. 13.

The Orange Empire Conference, which doesn't play football, accepted Golden West and Fullerton for all other sports Tuesday in a meeting after the Mission Conference vote.

In the fall of 1988, the Orange Empire Conference will consist of the six county schools--Saddleback, Orange Coast, Rancho Santiago, Golden West, Fullerton, Cypress (which doesn't field a football team)--and Riverside.

"It's fantastic," said Roger Wilson, Rancho Santiago athletic director. "It just makes a lot more sense. Now the games will start to have more meaning to the fans, to the players and to the media."

When Fullerton and Golden West first applied for acceptance to the Mission Conference two weeks ago, the schools were rejected in an informal vote of the athletic directors. And up until last Friday, it appeared the colleges would have trouble gaining entrance because the Mission Conference didn't want to expand to 12 teams.

But last Friday, Ed Conly, Citrus College athletic director, announced that his school would be leaving the Mission and Orange Empire conferences and moving to the Southern California Conference starting in the fall of 1988.

This created an opening in the Mission Conference and dropped the Orange Empire Conference to five teams.

"The Orange Empire Conference has been in search of teams for two years," said T. Mark Johnson, commissioner of both the Mission and Orange Empire conferences. "This was the logical move to get the county schools together. It should be a positive thing."

Hal Sherbeck, Fullerton athletic director and football coach, said, "We are looking forward to getting back to playing Orange County teams. This is good for community college athletics. We are one of the oldest community colleges around, but the last couple of years, we have been on the outside of the county circle. Now we will get back into it."

Fullerton and Golden West will be leaving the South Coast Conference and opponents El Camino, Cerritos, Long Beach, Pasadena and Mt. San Antonio.

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