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Hefferman Voices His Displeasure

Basketball: Ventura College coach is frustrated with administration, assistant coach, and may look for job elsewhere.


VENTURA — Suddenly, it's not much fun being a member of the Ventura College men's basketball team.

Or being the team's coach.

Glen Hefferman, a month after assuming command of the perennially powerful program and a day after several of his players were victimized in a racially motivated brawl, said his frustration with administrators has mounted to the point he is considering looking for another job.

Hefferman, 31, former men's coach at Columbia College in Sonora, said that a coach hired to assist him rarely attends practice, that several players have yet to receive financial aid and that administrators have been unresponsive to his requests and complaints.

"The stress, the lack of support is building," Hefferman said. "I'm going to evaluate the situation and if things don't become extremely better, I'm going to look elsewhere. I don't feel good about Ventura College, the way the kids are being treated.

"I may get fired for trying to help my kids. But you know what? If it's always going to be like this, I don't want to work at a place like this. I might ask a player to come back next year and he's going to look at me and say, 'Why? So I can go through that again?' "

None of seven players were seriously injured in a melee that erupted Thursday night during a party at an apartment complex where several players live.

Authorities cited three people for misdemeanor battery. Several party guests, police said, were shouting racial slurs directed at players, all of whom are black.

Circumstances on campus also have been difficult for some players. B.J. Rogers, a sophomore forward from North Carolina, is one of several players waiting for financial aid applied for during the summer.

"Every time I go there, they say it's coming, it's coming, it's coming," Rogers said. "That's what we're supposed to live on. Some of us go without eating for a couple of days because we don't have financial aid. My mom is trying to make me come home."

Nancy J. Davis, Ventura's financial aid officer, said the lengthy process of receiving financial aid was compounded by the fact that several players filed during the summer rather than spring.

"That's the only reason it's taken so long," Davis said. "Other students who applied at the same time are having the same problem. If you don't [apply] by August, it's going to take a while."

For his part, Hefferman often finds himself without help during practice. Laurian Watkins, an assistant hired during the summer before Hefferman was hired, has been unreliable, Hefferman said.

"If I had control of the situation, I would hire an assistant that would show up," Hefferman said. "He's been here about nine times in 30 days. I haven't seen him since last Wednesday. I don't even know how to get ahold of Watkins."

Dick James, Ventura's athletic coordinator, declined comment regarding Watkins. Watkins could not be reached for comment.

"It is a personnel matter and I am not at liberty to discuss it," James said. "He has due process and he has rights.

"We've talked to [Glen] frequently about all these things. We've told him it's a matter of healing and a matter of time."

Hefferman stepped into a quagmire as an 11th-hour replacement for former Shasta College Coach Jim Keating, who accepted the position in July, then abruptly reconsidered.

Last month, the findings of a five-month investigation of the program revealed that former Coach Virgil Watson, who guided the Pirates to a state championship in 1996, allegedly had committed numerous violations of state rules, including giving players money.

Ventura faces the possibility of having the state title revoked. The matter will be discussed at a meeting of Western State Conference officials on Oct. 8.

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