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SoCalHoops Coaching News

Russell Otis Moving To Lynwood,
Or Returning to Dominguez?--(July 24, 2001)

A few days ago, the Long Beach Press Telegram reported that former Compton Dominguez head coach Russell Otis was in line to receive the Lynwood head coaching job, or at the very least, that there were two warring factions within the Lynwood School District: One faction which favored Otis (on that side of the fence was former CIF Southern Section Assistant Commissioner Harold Cebrun, the current Lynwood Superintendent), and on the other side, a group of parents, administrators and current coaches who are opposed to a coaching change at Lynwood.   The LB Press Telegram article also noted that Otis would not be returning to Dominguez, and that many of his former players (Darius Sanders, Bobby Jones, Travon Free, Samir Hernandez, etc, ) had submitted transfer applications to other area schools.

But today's Los Angeles Times carried a story which seems to contradict at least a couple of key points in the Press Telegram's account of where Otis might wind up.   Ben Bolch's story, without mentioning a word of Otis' Lynwood application, reports that Otis reapplied for the Dominguez job and has submitted a formal application seeking reinstatement of his position.   Otis was fired from his head coaching job prior to acquittal in his criminal trial, with the school district stating at the time that the dismissal was due to Otis' failure to maintain his teaching credential.   The Times notes that Otis reapplication document also contains information on Otis' active teaching credential:

"The document, dated July 10 and directed to R. Keith Beeman, associate superintendent for human resources with CUSD, indicated that Otis had included with his request a copy of his credential information and court documents that showed he was cleared of all charges in the molestation case."

And apparently, there's some support for Otis in the community, including the very vocal support of Saul Lankster II, a member of the Compton Unified School District's Board of Trustees whose son also plays for the Dons.  The question which is left unanswered by both the PT and the Times is just where Otis really wants to coach. The PT story seemed to indicate that Otis would not be applying at Dominguez, and that he was finished there regardless of whether they would take him back.   The Times story obviously infers just the opposite, but Otis himself has refused to speak with reporters, referring them instead to his attorney Leonard Levine, who told the Times that Otis "career path is not a legal issue."   But whether it's a legal issue or not, it remains very much a real issue to many of his former players at Dominguez who are all waiting to see where he winds up.  Many of them, including Bobby Jones (6'-7" Sr. F) and Darius Sanders (6'-5" Sr. F) have said publicly many times that they will play for Otis wherever he coaches.  The only question now seems to be whether that will be at Lynwood or at Dominguez.

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