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CHRIS FOSTER

Their Acts Could Use Some Soap

November 08, 1994|CHRIS FOSTER

Take a memo.

To: Newport--Mesa Unified School District officials.

From: A casual observer.

Subject: Dirty laundry.

Ugly situation you folks got over there. One high school football coach angry, another angrier. Still another tossing in his two cents at inflationary rates--and he's not even involved in the situation.

So, what's that again about molding young men's minds and building character?

Seems Myron Miller, your coach at Costa Mesa, got somewhat chatty with a reporter prior to the Estancia game. Just a few pregame thoughts, little ditties like, "We'll win 100-0 if we get the chance." And, "We're also playing to recruit kids in our district; they shop around." Oh, and, " . . . so if we get a chance to score in the last minute, we'll score."

The winner of the Nobel Prize for sportsmanship is . . .

Well, the Mustangs scored with four seconds left to cap a 55-12 thrashing a couple Fridays ago.

Now there was talk about the Eagles having it coming. Some on the Costa Mesa side grumbled about Estancia's "people" tattling on Miller for having a couple players living at his house. The district did receive a telephone call from a private investigator regarding the "case."

Miller does have two players in residence. The Southern Section is aware of the non-athletic reasons and OK'd it.

But instead of being satisfied with an innocent verdict and a good-deed halo, Miller hauled out the incident as a motivational tool.

Guess he was saving that turn-the-other-cheek lesson for another day.

Seems John Liebengood, your coach at Estancia, didn't take too kindly to all that. A couple days after the rout, he fired back: "I wouldn't do that to anyone, as a head coach, a person or a friend . . . " And, "Maybe I was taught differently, but I couldn't do those things."

Maybe, but make sure your house isn't made by Waterford before chucking anything.

Liebengood didn't have a problem trotting out his first-team defense to prevent La Quinta from scoring with one second left earlier this season. Estancia was leading, 31-0, at the time. Liebengood said afterward that his defensive coordinator wanted the shutout.

Oh, well, as long as he went home happy.

Seems a blindside came from Mark Schuster, your first-year coach at Corona del Mar. He questioned Miller's coaching ethics. Never mind that Costa Mesa hasn't played Corona del Mar this season.

Doesn't Mark have enough worries trying to make the playoffs?

Hard to find a hero, eh?

But the question is, what lessons are planned? Oh, your district issued a gag order on all the verbal shenanigans, but is that enough?

Sure, this little tete-a-tete isn't ripping Orange County apart. Costa Mesa and Newport Beach haven't exactly been torn asunder.

And, yeah, these guys hardly reside at rock bottom. Why just up the road at a Huntington Beach high school, there are a couple of assistant coaches whose antics toward game officials might lead to a rather ugly incident some day.

None of this is good for high school football. Someone has to cry, enough . It can't be boys-will-be-boys and business-as-usual.

Two points.

First: Century League officials certainly sent a get-the-message message recently by suspending Canyon Coach Bob Hughes two games for disrupting a game in progress. Now that might be a little harsh in this case. But a little discipline seems appropriate. After all, these coaches would assuredly mete out a bit of it had one of their players popped off in such fashion.

Second: Don't forget to pat Newport Harbor's Jeff Brinkley on the back. He's your district's only coach who wasn't playing with jacks last week.

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