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Compton High's Russell Otis is fired

NEWSWIRE

Veteran boys basketball coach Russell Otis has been fired amid legal allegations.

June 17, 2009|Lance Pugmire; David Wharton | Staff and Wire Reports

Veteran Compton Dominguez High boys basketball coach Russell Otis has been fired pending appeal and the Compton Unified School District's longtime athletic director Ernie Carr has resigned, attorneys for both said Tuesday.

Otis, who led the Dons to 10 Southern Section titles and six state championships, faces felony commercial burglary counts and two other counts connected to unwanted sexual advances on a former male student. Carr was arrested in April on suspicion of felony grand theft and forgery for allegedly helping Otis cash a $15,000 check from Nike for use in his own account when the funds were intended for the school district.

Compton Unified officials have declined to discuss personnel matters.

Otis' attorney, Leonard Levine, said the effort to dismiss the coach is based "on grounds solely related to the Nike check and not the alleged molestation. The allegations of the Nike check will be unsubstantiated."

An independent investigation commissioned by the school district and reviewed by The Times concluded the student's allegations against Otis that led to one felony count of meeting a minor for lewd purposes and one misdemeanor count of child molesting were "unsubstantiated."

The law firm that conducted the investigation defined the "unsubstantiated" allegations as "those unable to be verified, corroborated or confirmed by the available evidence."

Carr, meanwhile, "was planning to retire within a year, anyway, and he didn't want to spend that year dealing with this," his attorney, Michael Chaney, said. "He resigned in disgust. This Nike thing is bogus. [Law enforcement] reached a conclusion first, and then grasped at straws to make it happen, but now the straws are falling apart."

Otis and Carr's next court date is Monday.

-- Lance Pugmire

JURSIPRUDENCE

Stallworth begins 30-day sentence

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworth began serving a 30-day jail sentence for killing a pedestrian while driving drunk in Florida, a punishment made possible by his cooperation with investigators and the fervent wish by the victim's family to put the matter behind them.

Stallworth, 28, received the sentence after pleading guilty to a DUI manslaughter charge for striking and killing Mario Reyes while driving drunk March 14 in his black 2005 Bentley. The athlete also reached a confidential financial settlement with the family of the 59-year-old construction worker. Without the plea deal, the DUI manslaughter conviction could have netted Stallworth 15 years in prison.

CYCLING

Hamilton banned for eight years

Olympic champion Tyler Hamilton received an eight-year ban from cycling, all but ending his drug-tainted career after he admitted to taking a steroid.

The penalty handed down by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency came two months after Hamilton acknowledged taking an herbal product to combat depression, knowing it included a steroid.

This was Hamilton's second anti-doping violation. At age 38, an eight-year ban for Hamilton is effectively a lifetime ban, said Travis Tygart, the CEO of USADA.

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Star cyclist Alexandre Vinokourov has been banned from next month's Tour de France. The top court in international sports said the 35-year-old Kazakh rider should have been barred for two years after being caught blood doping during the 2007 Tour.

COLLEGES

Bruins announce basketball dates

The UCLA men's basketball team announced a 2009-10 schedule that includes an early home game against highly regarded Kansas and a trip to Notre Dame.

The Bruins will also participate in the Thanksgiving weekend 76 Classic in Anaheim, joining a field that includes Butler, Clemson, West Virginia, Texas A&M and Long Beach State. Matchups have yet to be determined.

Pacific 10 Conference games begin with a home series against the Arizona schools on Dec. 31.

"This year's schedule is very ambitious with the young team we're going to have," Coach Ben Howland said.

-- David Wharton

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Stanford women's basketball star Jayne Appel, the Pac-10 player of the year, has undergone left knee surgery for the second time in less than a year.

ETC.

Former Trojan Belotti, 74

George Belotti, a three-year football letterman at USC in the mid-1950s, has died at 74. Section A

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Michelle Wie failed to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open after shooting a 74 in the second round of qualifying Monday.

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