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SoCalHoops Coaching News

Catching Up: Coaching Changes
@ Ayala, Sage Hill, Royal--(May 10, 2002)

Most of these coaching changes, both comings and goings, occurred over the past two weeks, and since we were gone, we thought it would be a good idea to try to catch up a bit.  Here's the latest:

Ayala: Tom Gregory, who has been the only boys' basketball coach at Ayala since the program was started 12 years ago, and who led the school to 10 consecutive 20 win seasons, has resigned.   Gregory has more than 400 wins in his career, and compiled a 253-75 record at Ayala.  His program was ultimately plagued by litigation the past two years, with one disgruntled parent suiing the school.  With the litigation out of the way, Gregory again coached his team to is 6th Sierra League title in the last seven years.  He coached 11 years at Savanna HS in Anaheim, prior to coming to Ayala, where he also coached his son last season.  He has not ruled out a return to coaching, but has definitely made the decision to leave Ayala.

Esperanza:  Jason Pietsch has been hired as boys' basketball coach at Esperanza High, Athletic Director Jim Patterson said. Pietsch, 29, coached at his alma mater, La Mirada, for five years, including the last two as head coach.

Royal HS:  Eddie Gutierrez, a walk-on boys' basketball coach at Royal HS, in Simi Valley, has resigned for personal reasons, according to Athletic Director Jim Wilber. The Highlanders finished 1-23, 0-12 in the Marmonte League in Gutierrez's first season, but improved to 9-16, 3-9 this season.

Upland HS:   John McNally, the Highlander's head coach, put out an announcement last week that he is is seeking two boys' basketball coaches. Those interested can contact Coach John McNally at 949-7880, Ext. 397.   While the announcement sought two coaches, it's possible that only one spot remains after McNally hired former Don Lugo girl's coach Tony Nixon to coach the boys' junior varsity (see below).

Don Lugo HS:    According to Brian Robin of the Los Angeles Times, Don Lugo HS has fired girls' basketball Coach Tony Nixon.  According to the paper, Nixon told reporters that he was called into Principal Christine Eslick's office and told he wasn't spending enough time with the program and that the school wanted to go in another direction. Nixon told the paper that he was "perplexed".   Don Lugo Vice Principal Preston Carr told the Times that the decision was about time management.  Nixon, who will continue to teach at Don Lugo, was hired at Upland. He will join the Highlanders' staff as the boys junior varsity basketball coach. Nixon led Don Lugo's girls to a 15-10 record last season.

Sage Hill HS:  Gordon McNeill, who led the Sage Hill High boys basketball team to an 8-10 record in its first varsity season, resigned for personal reasons.  According to the Los Angeles Times, he will move to the San Fernando Valley, "where his wife has been placed in a residency program."  Sage Hill High Athletic Director Nate Miller told the Times that McNeill decided the 90-minute commute would be too difficult, especially since the couple is expecting its first child this summer. Sage Hill finished tied for third in the Academy League, then lost a third-place playoff game to Brethren Christian and did not make the CIF Southern Section playoffs.  Miller told reporters that Sage Hill will begin looking immediately for a new coach.   Interested applicants should contact Miller at (949) 219-1365.

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