Bob Lofrano, one of the Valley-area's top baseball coaches, interviewed Tuesday for a job as a coach and physical education teacher at Pierce College, according to Pierce Athletic Director Marian McWilliams.
Both parties seem eager to join forces, although Lofrano and Pierce officials have not agreed on a job title. Lofrano, the Chatsworth High coach, said he assumed that he was interviewing for the head coaching job when he met with an academic committee Tuesday. But McWilliams said that the position offered is an assistantship to Coach Bob Lyons, a business professor who has coached the team for 10 seasons in two stints.
Lyons, 51, said he would welcome Lofrano as an assistant but has set no date for retirement. Lyons quit as baseball coach in 1981 but returned in 1987 when the school threatened to cut the program if a credentialed employee did not take the job.
"I wouldn't leave if they came in with a part-time guy so I've been pushing for this situation," Lyons said. "I'd love to work with him. He's a tremendous guy and a tremendous coach. I have a great deal of respect for him."
Although Lofrano said he was surprised about the confusion over the job title, the misunderstanding did not deter his enthusiasm for the job.
"I didn't feel like I went into the interview as anything but the head baseball coach," he said. "I'm not concerned about the title. I think that's something that Bob and I can work out. I look forward to the opportunity to coach and teach at the next level. If it does happen, I'd be excited about the opportunity."
Pierce has openings for two full-time jobs in its men's athletic department. Four teachers from the department have retired under a retirement-incentive program in which positions are replaced at a 60% rate. Retiring at the end of the school year were Bob Chambers, a former track coach, John Muir (gymnastics), Jim Pendleton (football) and Paul Xanthos (tennis).
McWilliams would prefer to fill the other teaching position with an assistant football coach and has recommended Pierce assistant Bill Norton for the job.
The committee completed interviews today and will submit its recommendations to Pierce President Dan Means, who will then seek approval from the Los Angeles Community College District.
Lofrano, 39, is a graduate of Pierce and Cal State Northridge and played in the same Pierce infield with Doug DeCinces, a former major league player with the Orioles and Angels. He has coached Chatsworth for 11 years, winning nine consecutive West Valley League titles. The Chancellors won the City Section 4-A Division title in 1983 and were ranked No. 1 in the nation during the 1988 season. His 11-year record is 188-59 (.761).
Outside of his playing days at Pierce and a brief stint as an assistant at Crenshaw High, Chatsworth has encompassed his baseball experience. He was a second baseman on the 1967-68 school teams.