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UCLA alumni can't help Bruins land blue-chip recruit

Scott Altenberg, football coach at Gardena Serra High and a UCLA graduate, is taking heat after star receiver Adoree' Jackson selects USC. 'My job as a coach is to help them make the best decision for them,' he says.

February 05, 2014|Eric Sondheimer
  • Gardena Serra Coach Scott Altenberg talks to quarterback Conner Preston duirng a practice.
Gardena Serra Coach Scott Altenberg talks to quarterback Conner Preston… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

Scott Altenberg won't be winning any UCLA alumni awards any time soon.

Altenberg, a UCLA graduate who is the football coach at Gardena Serra High, wins a lot of football games but can't seem to deliver to Bruins fans what they want — his star players in powder blue and gold.

Altenberg's father, Kurt, caught one of most famous game-winning touchdown passes in UCLA history to beat USC, 20-16, in 1965. But what has Scott Altenberg done for us lately, Bruins fans want to know.

Their complaining hit a fever pitch Wednesday when yet another blue-chip prospect, wide receiver and defensive back Adoree' Jackson, picked USC over UCLA. Serra linebacker Olajuwon Tucker also chose the Trojans.

"Trust me," Altenberg said, "as a fan, I'm disappointed. But my job as a coach is to help them make the best decision for them."

Altenberg told Jackson not to tell him where he was going before his announcement, and for good reason.

"At 6:30 in the morning, I had six missed calls and 10 text messages," Altenberg said. "It was insane."

Altenberg said he understands the frustration of UCLA fans. He's had to attend USC-UCLA games in recent years and watch some of his greatest Serra players, Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, play for the Trojans.

He points out that two of his players, receiver Jordan Lasley and linebacker Dwight Williams, signed with UCLA on Wednesday. And he says that Jackson gave serious consideration to the Bruins.

"They came on strong," Altenberg said. "I think in the end he went where he was comfortable."

Altenberg still plans to wear his UCLA gear on Mondays after a Bruins victory, and he'll be keeping his season tickets at the Rose Bowl, although he doesn't know where he'll be sitting.

"I might not get out of the tailgating area," he said, jokingly.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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