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Bessler Hired to Coach Again at Van Nuys

August 04, 1999|MIKE BRESNAHAN

Dave Bessler, who was twice dismissed as girls' volleyball coach at Van Nuys High, has been rehired to coach the team in a controversial move by the school.

Bessler coached the Wolves in 1996, when they were banned from the City Section playoffs for using an ineligible player, a punishment that ultimately led to his forced resignation and Van Nuys being banned from the 1997 playoffs.

Bessler was rehired and briefly coached the team in 1997, but was fired in February 1998 by former principal Russ Thompson.

Bessler's recent rehiring, in which he was the only candidate, angered Greg Wah, who promptly resigned as girls' basketball and boys' volleyball coach at Van Nuys. Wah has accepted a teaching position at Portola Middle School in Tarzana.

"The message we're saying to parents and kids, as well as teacher and staff, is that it's OK to be fired twice and come back and coach again," Wah said. "It's a sad day for Van Nuys athletics."

Jack Molina, interim principal at Van Nuys, could not be reached for comment.

"I've been doing this so long, nothing surprises me," said Athletic Director Terry Stoller in reference to the hiring and referred further questions to Molina.

Bessler, who guided the Van Nuys girls' team to three City 3-A Division titles in the 1990s, has remained at the school as a teacher.

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