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COLLEGE DIVISION / ARA NAJARIAN : Woman Joins Westmont Men as an Assistant

October 27, 1992|ARA NAJARIAN

Listen for Leslie Crandell to tell you she's on the cutting edge, breaking a mold or setting a trend and you'll be disappointed.

But slightly more than a week ago, Westmont College in Santa Barbara hired her as an assistant coach for Jeff Crosby's men's basketball team.

Crandell is the only female coach on the staff of a men's basketball program at the NAIA level and is believed to be only the second hired by a four-year university.

The first and most widely known was Bernadette Locke-Mattox, who was hired in June of 1991 by Kentucky Coach Rick Pitino.

Crandell said that until a few years ago, she never really thought about coaching, let alone coaching in a men's program. She was planning on medical school.

"(Coaching has been) quite a detour," she said. "Maybe a permanent detour. I planned since I was 9 to go to med school. Then (Stanford women's) Coach (Tara) Van Derveer called and asked if I was interested in being a graduate assistant. It was a good opportunity to work at Stanford and see if I would like (coaching).

"I thought 'I bet I won't like it,' but really, the day-to-day work, I really enjoyed it."

Crandell was an assistant for Stanford's 1990 national championship team, then went to Japan for two years to play in Japan's business-sponsored professional leagues.

"I helped arrange for one of our players at Stanford, Kate Steding, to play over there, and they called me back and said, 'Well you're still young. Why don't you come and play?' I'm sure if I had tried out, they wouldn't have taken me," Crandell said.

Crandell averaged 26 points and 27 rebounds a game for the Bank of Tokyo. That led to her first head coaching job.

"Our head coach became ill so I ran the two-a-day practices, and the next week we won a tournament that we didn't expect to do well in. . . . So management made a decision." Crandell said.

Did it bother the coach that she stepped in and took the job?

"He was actually delighted," she said. "He really was involved in doing the administration, and so he just kind of was told to coach as well. He was happy, and so was I because I'm a much better coach than a player."

Crandell led the team to a 47-8 record, but she was let go because of a drop in the economy and because women's basketball is still looked upon as expendable.

She returned to Santa Barbara, her hometown, and heard that Westmont was looking for an assistant coach.

"So I chatted with Crosby, and we found out that I could help in areas that they need help--with post play, recruiting and scouting."

Any worry of coaching the other gender?

"I think they were concerned about (a woman) coaching boys," she said. "I think they were concerned with how it would help the team. Part of an athletic program is that it's part of an education, and that you need to have good role models as educators."

Cliff Hamlow will step down as Azusa Pacific's athletic director, effective June 1, 1993.

Terry Franson, who coaches men's track and field for the university, will succeed Hamlow.

Hamlow, 58, will continue as Azusa Pacific's vice president for university services and as the president/commissioner of the Golden State Athletic Conference. He will also continue to work as vice chairman of the National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics' Affiliated Conferences Assn.

Hamlow helped build Azusa Pacific's athletic program into national prominence at the small-college level. Cougar teams won 15 national championships during his tenure, and he was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1981, after coaching the men's basketball program for 32 years to a 570-414 record.

"The history of Azusa Pacific intercollegiate athletics will always have at its center the life and work of Cliff Hamlow," Azusa Pacific president Richard Felix said.

Franson has been associate athletic director since 1989, has won nine NAIA track and field championships in the last 10 years and has been voted NAIA outdoor coach of the year the last 10 years.

Occidental keeps working overtime for low returns in football.

Last week, when Occidental lost to Cal Lutheran 17-14, it was only the fourth time that an overtime game had been played in the Southern California Collegiate Athletic Conference, which began playing overtimes in 1985.

And Occidental has been in all of those, winning one.

The SCIAC overtime differs from professional football's format.

After a five-minute intermission, there is a coin toss and the winner starts the overtime on the opponents' 25-yard line. The team drives for a score or gives up the ball by down or turnover.

The other team gets an opportunity to win or tie the score again by starting at its opponents' 25. The process is repeated until one team scores more than the other.

College Division Notes

Terry Cassidy of Cal Baptist leads NAIA District 3 in soccer scoring. He scored three goals and had one assist in games against Biola and Christ College Irvine. Azusa Pacific freshman Gabe Ortiz leads District 3 goalies with an 0.73 goals-allowed average. . . . Cal State Los Angeles goalie Peter Pietro leads NCAA Division II with a 0.21 goals-against average. Teammate Jesus Gonzales is ninth in Division II scoring with 16 goals and four assists. . . . Paris Pena won the men's individual title at the Cal Poly Pomona cross-country invitational with a time of 25 minutes 46 seconds.

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