Baseline principals address All-League football debacle

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Has the ever been a worse debacle than what took place when Baseline League football coaches met to pick their All-League team? Probably not.

For those that haven’t been briefed, Upland won the league without losing to any of the other five schools.

When the coaches met, the first vote was for offensive player of the year. Two players were put up by their coaches – one from Chino Hills, one from Upland. The Chino Hills player won by a 4-2 vote.

That prompted Upland coach Tim Salter to get up and leave the meeting, putting the fate of the rest of his players in the hands of the other coaches.

Well the other coaches were worried more about lobbying for their own players. And with no one representing Upland in attendance none of those players were placed on the first or second team.

Once word got out, chaos ensued. Upland principal Garry Cameron and Athletic Director John McNally sent a letter to the principals asking them to address the situation.

They did. The compromise they came up with was to let Upland choose 21 players, 11 they can place on offense with up to 6 placed on first team. They get 10 selections on defense but the selection of players of the year would not be changed and no player previously chosen would be removed.

It helps give recognition to the players who were deserving but were first slighted. But EVERYONE looks bad.

Salter is most to blame because he got up and left. You don’t take your ball and go home because you don’t get your way. In fact coaches from another sport met just before and the player of the year didn’t come from the team that finished first. That coach didn’t pitch a fit and leave.

The other coaches don’t look good either. They may have personal differences with Salter and Upland. But you can’t tell me they couldn’t have taken a couple of the obvious choices and put them on the All-League team. In that situation Upland doesn’t get all the selections it probably deserve but some representation and there wouldn’t have been a total uproar.

Upland Unified School District Superintendent Nancy Kelly released a statement which addressed the compromise but part read: “Reconsidering players for All-League teams, but not Player of the Year awards, doesn’t make sense.”

Yes Mrs. Kelly it does. Your school got 21 selections, so pretty much every starter. And you want consideration for the top awards too? That would absolve Salter of any wrongdoing and he facilitated it.

The league looks bad for the whole debacle. And with now 50 or so players on the All-League team it waters down what should be an honor.

When we select our All-Area teams we’re careful not to overload it with players. The more you pick, the less of an honor it really is.

Was Salter upset because he never gets a Player of the Year? Not likely. He had a player given that top honor last year.

Lets hope everyone has learned from this bad episode and history doesn’t repeat itself.

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Chris Salabaj to head Damien wrestling program

Chris Salabaj is the new wrestling coach at Damien High School.

He is no stranger to the school or the area, having taught computer science there in 1997 and 1998.

He played football at the University of La Verne in 1993 and 1994 and started his coaching career at Webb heading the wrestling program from 1997 to 1999.

He will be a a walk-on coach with his primary job being at Our Lady of the Assumption in Claremont which is one of the feeder schools to Damien.

“The schools draw on tradition and I think a little of that has been lost lately,” he said. “I really want to get back to embracing that and building on it.”

Salabaj has been pleased with the turnout so far with 32 athletes out for the team, even before football players reported at the conclusion of their season.

Salabaj is also a special teams coordinator and defensive line coach at La Verne.


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Here’s what’s left of our prep football, volleyball water polo teams


Upland’s Nathan Tilford looks for running room against Rancho Cucamonga earlier this season.

Friday’s games

Glendora at Colony
West Covina at Bonita

Redlands East Valley at Elsinore
Riverside Poly at San Gorgonio
Carter at Heritage

Pomona at San Dimas

West Valley
Upland at Hart
Mission Viejo at Rancho Cucamonga (at Los Osos)

All semifinals Tuesday
Division 4AA

Alta Loma at Garden Grove

Division 4A
Summit at Cate

Division 5AA
Upland Christian at Faith Baptist

All Semifinals on Wednesday

Division 2
At Woolett Aquatic Center, Irvine
Los Osos vs. Dana Hills, 5 p.m.

Division 5
At Diamond Bar HS

Claremont vs. Redlands, 7:30 p.m.

Division 7
At Mt. SAC

San Dimas vs. Rio Mesa, 4:30 p.m.
Don Lugo vs. Rowland, 3 p.m.


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