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On Second Thought, Pepperdine Looked Attractive to Trakh


MALIBU — Brea-Olinda girls' basketball Coach Mark Trakh, who accepted and then rejected an offer to become the women's coach at Pepperdine, changed his mind again and will leave Brea for the college ranks after all.

Pepperdine announced Trakh's latest decision June 30, a day after he addressed his three-time defending State Division II championship team.

It ended one of the toughest weeks of Trakh's life, one in which he received more advice than ever before. And almost unanimously, the advice was to move on.

"It was a very difficult decision between two wonderful places and I just decided to accept the challenge of moving on," Trakh said. "My players and ex-players convinced me that (Pepperdine) was the place to be. I'm really close to my players and they convinced me that if I didn't take the challenge, I would regret it later on.

"I couldn't lose. It was a decision between two wonderful places."

Trakh, 35, met briefly with Pepperdine Athletic Director Wayne Wright on June 28.

"I asked him if he would consider taking me back and allowing me the opportunity and he said he would, in a very brief and positive meeting," Trakh said. "I'm extremely fortunate, lucky and grateful that I still have the opportunity."

When Trakh accepted the position the first time on June 16, he informed his team of his decision on the afternoon of June 18, after the announcement had been made. He then had a change of heart and called Wright that night to decline the offer.

The university continued its search, conducting more interviews during the interim period, until Trakh reconsidered.

Brea had a 356-42 record in 13 seasons under Trakh and hasn't lost more than two games a season since the 1986-87 team finished 24-4.

Assistant John Hattrup, who earlier planned to apply for one of two assistant positions at Pepperdine, has decided to remain at Brea and apply for Trakh's vacated job.

In addition to the support Trakh received from those who played under his guidance, he also considered that he might never get another chance to coach a college program after turning down Pepperdine the first time. For years he has sought a college coaching position.

"That played a good role (in the decision)," he said. "I'm given a chance at the perfect institution. That went through my mind."

Trakh was a finalist for jobs at Cal State Fullerton last year and Cal State Los Angeles in 1991. He turned down the Chapman position in 1989 and had looked into openings at Nevada and Northern Arizona this year but didn't interview.

At Pepperdine, he succeeds Ron Fortner, who resigned in April after a 10-year record of 131-153.

The Waves (15-15, 7-7 in the West Coast Conference) have six returning players and five incoming freshmen. There are two seniors, including point guard Aimee McDaniel from Brea, an all-conference player who led the team in scoring, rebounding and assists.

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