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Montclair Prep Assistant Suspended

August 01, 1991|ERIC SHEPARD | TIMES PREP SPORTS EDITOR

The CIF Southern Section on Wednesday continued to penalize Montclair Prep in Van Nuys by suspending assistant football coach John Hazelton for the 1991-92 school year.

In April, the Southern Section banned Montclair Prep's athletic programs from postseason play for a year and the football team from the playoffs for two years. The executive committee cited undue influence in the recruiting of former football players Derek and Leland Sparks.

At the center of the case was Hazelton, an assistant since 1989. The executive committee claimed he was the main force behind the illegal recruitment of the Sparks cousins. When the decision was reached in April, it stipulated that Hazelton be suspended for one year.

V.E. Simpson, Montclair Prep's principal, said the Southern Section had "a loaded gun to his head" when he agreed to that penalty.

Wednesday, Hazelton went before a three-panel executive committee to try to win back his job. He said he was not surprised that the committee, which heard nine hours of testimony, denied his appeal.

"I was prepared for the committee to find something. But I am happy that the truth finally came out and that these loose allegations will no longer be made."

George Giannini, Montclair Prep's head coach, was not cited for recruiting violations.

Stan Thomas, Southern Section commissioner, supplied the executive committee with a list of seven charges of undue influence against Hazelton. The committee, headed by La Habra Principal Tom Triggs, concluded that Hazelton violated two of those charges and was partially guilty of a third.

Hazelton, who plans to appeal to the CIF state office, said he will keep his job as physical education teacher at Montclair Prep.

Times staff writer James Quinn contributed to this story.

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