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NOTEBOOK / SEAN WATERS : New Fairfax Football Coach Offers Players a Ray of Hope

August 20, 1992|SEAN WATERS

Terrel Ray's first undertaking as Fairfax High football coach was to keep players in the program.

Ray, a teammate of O.J. Simpson on USC's 1967 national championship team, was hired two weeks ago. He replaced Ron Price, who resigned after leading the Lions to consecutive Coastal Conference championships.

Ray, 42, has spent the past three years as co-coach with Robert Garrett at Crenshaw. Garrett and Ray were selected The Times' Central Section coaches of the year last season after the Cougars won the City Section 3-A Division title.

Ray said three players left the program before he accepted the job and eight or nine more considered leaving.

"What happened was that the position was open for so long that some players panicked and started looking to go to other schools," Ray said. "They weren't sure who the new football coach was going to be and whether they would be happy playing for him."

Quarterback Hasan Muhammad was one player that Ray persuaded to stay. Muhammad's brother, Rahim, was twice named to The Times' Westside all-star team.

"My biggest challenge at this particular time is getting players into football class," he said. "I need to teach them my football philosophy and citizenship. I think it's important that my players know how to carry themselves in their everyday lives."

Ray never reached his potential as a player after suffering cartilage damage to his right knee during a practice at USC. The knee was surgically repaired.

"Mike Battle hit me in practice while I was going out for a pass," Ray said. "There wasn't supposed to be hitting, but he slipped on the wet grass and rolled into me."

After earning a physical education degree from USC, Ray played for nearly three years in the NFL with the Washington Redskins and the Chicago Bears. Recurring knee problems forced his retirement as a player in 1972.

Ray was a football and track coach at Cal State Long Beach, West Los Angeles College, Dorsey, Manual Arts, Canoga Park and Birmingham highs before getting the job at Crenshaw.

City Section football teams will complete three days of conditioning Friday and will begin working out in pads in two weeks.

"Right now I'm meeting the kids and getting myself acquainted with them," Ray said. "I don't know how good we will be.

"I need to watch them do different drills and see where they will fit as far as the system is concerned."

Tennis--Lea Antonopolis of Brentwood and former UCLA All-Americans Barbara Gerken and Lynn Lewis will compete for the Westside Returning Retirees in the United States Tennis Assn. adult league sectional championships Friday through Sunday at Los Caballeros Sports Village in Fountain Valley.

More than 700 players from 59 teams will take part in the sectional championships.

Volleyball--The Marymount High girls' volleyball team is ranked 16th in the state in a Southern Section coaches' poll.

Marymount, which was 21-6 last season, received 27 points. El Toro, the top-ranked team, received 102 points, including four first-place votes.

Marlborough and Notre Dame Academy also received honorable mention.

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