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VALLEY/VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

On Day After, They Line Up for Northridge Job

Football: Bubb fields more than a dozen calls from coaches interested in replacing Fenwick.

January 07, 1998|FERNANDO DOMINGUEZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NORTHRIDGE — One day after Jim Fenwick's surprising resignation as Cal State Northridge football coach, the scramble among potential successors is under way.

"We've had over a dozen calls [Tuesday] afternoon about the job," said Paul Bubb, Northridge's athletic director. "They are from coaches in high schools all the way up to the professional ranks.

"I think we'll have a good pool of candidates."

At least one Matador assistant, Jeff Kearin, is looking to replace Fenwick, who left Northridge on Monday to become offensive coordinator at New Mexico.

Fenwick coached the Matadors to a 6-6 overall record, including a 4-4 mark in the Big Sky Conference, in his only season at the school.

Kearin is Northridge's running backs and special teams coach. He was offensive coordinator for two seasons under former coach Dave Baldwin, who left to become coach San Jose State in December 1996.

Kearin applied for the position that eventually went to Fenwick last January.

"I think this is one of the best jobs in football," Kearin said from Dallas, where he is attending a coaches' convention. "With our recruiting area, we are in a choice location."

John Rosenberg, Northridge's defensive coordinator, said he will consider applying for the job. Rosenberg was an assistant at Penn State in the late 1970s and the coach at Brown from 1984-90.

"I really haven't sorted it out yet," Rosenberg said. "But I certainly have a strong belief in the potential and direction of this program. There's a part of me that says all of these goals can be done and I'd like to be here and experience it."

Those who said they are not interested in the position include Rob Phenicie, Northridge's offensive coordinator, and Gary Bernardi, a UCLA assistant and former Burroughs High coach who graduated from Northridge.

"I just don't have the resume to do it yet," said Phenicie, who completed his first season with the Matadors after serving as an assistant to Fenwick at Valley College the previous five years. "I would like to do everything I can to stay at Northridge and keep running the same [run-and-shoot] offense."

Other possible candidates include St. Francis High Coach Bill Redell, San Jose State assistants Steve Hagen and Ron Ponciano, Eastern Washington Coach Mike Kramer, Northern Arizona assistant Joe Kersting, Washington assistant Scott Pelluer and Montana assistants Jerome Souers and Brent Pease.

Hagen, a former Cal Lutheran quarterback, Kersting, Pelluer and Souers are finalists for the Northern Arizona coaching job vacated in December by Steve Axman, who is pursuing other coaching opportunities. Ponciano was Northridge's defensive coordinator in 1995-96 and accompanied Baldwin to San Jose State.

Bubb said he hopes to convene a search and screening committee by the end of next week. He doesn't plan to select an interim coach from among the Northridge assistants.

There's urgency in finding a coach because the NCAA signing period for high school seniors starts Feb. 4.

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