Girls Basketball Scandal: Everyone speaking about the coach who suited up and played in a JV game

Just days after a story published in this newspaper confirming the firings of the entire San Gabriel High School girls basketball program’s coaching staff, Manny Flores, the former head varsity girls basketball coach, responded to allegations in a series of e-mail exchanges that there was an attempt to cover up a freshman coach’s decision to play in a junior varsity girls basketball game last month.

Flores did not dispute allegations that Jannie Han, 21, played during a nonleague junior varsity road game Dec. 9 against El Monte, but he did take issue that there was an attempt to cover it up, which led to the firing of Flores, Han and JV girls basketball coach Mark Ho.

“I did not try to cover it up,” Flores wrote. “(Their) decision to do what they did was and is still a shock to me. I was shocked to see my coach playing in a game. It was disheartening because she was a responsible individual.

“Maybe I handled it the wrong way by waiting a day, but I was trying to find out why they did what they did, but I got no response. I do not have any hard feelings towards San Gabriel for their decision to let me go because of that. But to say I tried to cover it up, no way. I do not stand for things like that.”

San Gabriel principal Jim Schofield confirmed the firings on Monday but would not discuss the details, citing privacy issues. Jennifer White recently was hired to coach the varsity girls basketball team and San Gabriel football coach Keith Jones and assistant football coach Jude Oliva will help coach the junior varsity girls. The school is waiting on fingerprint clearance for its new freshman girls coach.

El Monte junior varsity girls basketball coach Steve Shimada said he couldn’t tell when Han went into the game, which the Lions won, 37-15.

“I was only interested in what we were doing, even though we had the game in hand,” Shimada said. “We tried to figure out who it might have been, but it wasn’t something that ever crossed my mind, that a coach would be playing in a game. I’ve never heard of something like this.”

CLICK ON THREAD TO CONTINUE READING FLORES’ ACCOUNT AND REACTION FROM AREA ATHLETIC DIRECTORS AND COACHES

Flores said he brought the incident to the attention of San Gabriel athletic director Patty Hill and waited a day largely in part to get more information from Han and Ho and because he was unsure how to handle the situation.

“I want to make it clear that I had no say or had any part in their decision to allow what happened,” Flores wrote. “However, I accept responsibility and only because it occurred within my time as head coach.”

Flores, a 1999 Alhambra High graduate who coached the Moors’ JV boys basketball team for two seasons, gave his account about the incident.

“My team had a game right after the JV game,” he wrote. “So as we were entering the gym I was shocked, to say the least, to catch a glimpse of my coach in a uniform and playing in a game. She knew she had made a mistake when she saw me come in, and went straight to the bench to put on a sweatshirt, pretending like nothing happened.

“I wanted to talk to them after their game, but the other coaches had to leave with the team on the bus. Coach Han should have stayed for our game to do our scorebook, but she left with the JV team. I did not hear from her or see her until the meeting with the administration.”

Han did not respond to repeated e-mail requests seeking explanation, nor was she available for questions at her Alhambra home.

Flores said he did not see or hear from Han until a Dec. 14 meeting with Schofield, Hill and assistant principal Scott Mangrum. Mark Ho also was present.

“I knew as soon as I walked in (what) their decision was going to be,” Flores wrote. “It was very short and quick. I was simply told that I had been let go along with the other coaches.”

Flores said he has not spoken directly to Han and Ho since their firings.

“Just through texts,” Flores added. “They have apologized, but the damage is done and it cannot be repaired.”

miguel.melendez@sgvn.com

AREA COACHES REACT

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

San Gabriel Valley coaches and athletic directors were in shock and disbelief when they learned San Gabriel High School’s freshman girls basketball coach played in a junior varsity game early last month.

San Gabriel Principal Jim Schofield confirmed Monday that varsity girls basketball coach Manny Flores, junior varsity girls basketball coach Mark Ho and freshman girls basketball coach Jannie Han were fired Dec. 15 after Han played Dec. 9 in a JV nonleague game at El Monte.

“I was shocked to hear what happened and feel for the girls in the program,” Keppel coach Ib Belou said. “I hope that the girls come together and push through this incident and find a way to move forward.

“As for Manny Flores, I did not know him on a personal level, but from the two games I coached against him he was a very kind and respectful person. I have nothing but positive things to say about him since I can only go by how he treated the girls I coach and myself.”

Alhambra girls basketball coach Therese Berner, in her first season with the Moors, said she’s coached basketball 30 years and never has heard of anything like this.

“I guess my question is, `Was winning that important that you would sacrifice the program?’ ” she asked rhetorically. “To me there’s no valid reason, period. I don’t want to pass any judgement but who would benefit from that?”

Schofield learned of the incident the weekend of Dec. 12 through e-mail messages.

“If a situation were to happen here I would act swiftly to remedy the issue,” Maranatha athletic director and baseball coach Brian DeHaan said.

Schofield would not discuss the details, citing privacy issues, but did speak about the severity of such an issue and said if something like that was to happen in a program it would be sending out the exact opposite message.

Tamar Hill, in her 10th year as La Ca ada’s girls basketball coach, echoed Schofield’s statements.

“What we’re trying to teach the kids is ethics,” she said. “The CIF motto is sportsmanship and ethics. What they (the administrator’s swift action) did is exactly what they need to do – uphold the CIF standards and school standards.”

There’s a running joke among coaches that when things go bad they’d like to enter a game and play. That much was evident when speaking with more than several area coaches, but to actually act on the temptation has not crossed anyone’s mind.

“It’s one of those things that as you get older you always kind of joke about in little conversations, telling your kids `I’m sure I can find some eligibility somewhere’ but it’s all meant in a joking way,” Diamond Ranch athletic director Jason Fox said. “I would have never imagined someone actually doing it. I’m still in shock hearing that it actually happened.”

“It’s hard for me to understand why they would have done that and what was the thought process behind it,” El Monte coach Brian Tabatabi said. “It’s unfortunate because the girls work hard and you coach them up and think you’re competing on an even playing field, but to think an opposing coach would treat his own players that way is disappointing.”

The age requirement to be an assistant coach is 18, and 21 to be a head coach in the Pomona Unified School District. Lou Torres, in his 14th year as athletic director at Alhambra, said that’s the general rule, although there’s no specification in job fliers within the Alhambra Unified School District. Torres also said it’s the varsity head coach’s responsibility to look after his assistants.

“When I hire a head coach it’s his responsibility to hire his assistant coaches and it’s also his responsibility to hire someone as competent as possible,” Torres said. “If they do hire someone young they have to be monitored by them and myself.”

It is not known how long Han, 21, played in the junior varsity game, but Manny Flores confirmed catching a glimpse of Han in uniform playing in the game, and when she saw him Han went back to the bench and put on a sweatshirt, “pretending like nothing happened.”

“At that point I would have expected the coach to start coaching the JV team right there and then,” Torres said. “The head coach is responsible for his program and if he had knowledge of that happening then they’re all responsible.”

Flores, in an e-mail, said there were no cover-up attempts.

“Maybe I handled it the wrong way by waiting a day,” he wrote. “But I was trying to find out why they did what they did, but I got no response.”

“The last thing you want to do is make your school look bad,” Fox said. “You have to let your athletic director and administrators know that day. You have to because then it falls back on you.

“You can sit there and say, `I just got wind of this happening today and I wanted to bring it to your attention and I’m looking into it more and I’ll let you know by close of business day tomorrow.’ ”

miguel.melendez@sgvn.com

  • Goldenarm

    Don’t they have a roster and require check in at the scorer’s table prior to substitution?

    Secondly, and the real question?
    Why???

  • Miguel Melendez

    GA: The fired head coach doesn’t know how long Jannie Han played and whether she scored. The El Monte JV coach checked his scorebook, but he couldn’t tell either. The only people that know, Flores said, is Mark Ho and Jannie Han. But as you can imagine they’re not talking, and I’m working on that now.

    Why would she check in and play? Frustration, perhaps. But that’s no justification.

  • Someone who knows

    Miguel, let it rest. No need to beat a dead horse, besides the story happened before Christmas (oops I mean Winter) Break. This story is not going to get you a Pulitzer Prize.

    Those coaches made a mistake and it cost them their jobs and it is time to move on for everyone.

    The SGHS Administration took swift action when it found out about it and replaced those coaches. It is over and the season moves on.

    As for Mr Flores, he said, “”So as we were entering the gym I was shocked, to say the least, to catch a glimpse of my coach in a uniform and playing in a game,” if that was an accurate quote.

    If that were the case, he should have been on the phone to the AD (Pat Hill) right then and there was his critical error and his job may have been saved.

    Goldenarm, all players must be listed in the official book and the penalty would be a technical foul. If the game was a route at the time, it is a possibility the officials ignored any T or she was already listed and in uniform and if that was the case, it was premeditated.

  • Find the “story” within the story

    Miguel ever thought to ask the parents what they thought. My only guess, and it’s a reach, is the coach thought she was going to show the kids who to compete considering they’d lost 191-17 in three previous games.

    Like I said it’s a reach. Still very parent knew who she was before the game so when she checked in they had to be whispers and when the Varsity HC walked in I’m sure at least one fan, student or parent must have either yelled….”SHE”S A COACH!!! or quietly asked the HC before, during or after the game…”WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ABOUT???”

    That’s the real story Miguel. The “story” is in the stands…so to speak.

  • Getting Miggy With It

    Everyone speaking? The only one who seems to be talking about this is you. You’ve got a grand total of 4 comments for this thread. Ever thought of covering the actual games going on? Or are you trying to use this as a springboard?

    Where’s Scott Galetti when you need him? He actually enjoyed sports, cared about sports and most importantly, knew sports. He also actually covered…you know, sports. It’s an insult to the readers of the Prep Sports section that you think they care more about stories like this instead of the actual sporting contests and activities.

  • Fan

    Instead of giving this story so much effort, why not actually cover some other schools you don’t cover. Maybe the reason the paper is losing readership is your staff covers the same high-rated schools. And so much coverage on football and boys basketball, and girls volleyball and softball, did anyone notice in your on-line poll that basketball almost doubled the interest over volleyball and softball?
    Your readership should soar if you have more help and had two pages of preps most days covering more schools and more sports.

  • Fan

    Instead of giving this story so much effort, why not actually cover some other schools you don’t cover. Maybe the reason the paper is losing readership is your staff covers the same high-rated schools. And so much coverage on football and boys basketball, and girls volleyball and softball, did anyone notice in your on-line poll that basketball almost doubled the interest over volleyball and softball?
    Your readership should soar if you have more help and had two pages of preps most days covering more schools and more sports.

  • No one cares!

    No one cares about how many minutes she played and how many points she scored! San Gabriel still lost the game so it’s not like it mattered. Your taking so much pride in trying to get the coaches to talk, why don’t you just ask another 20 coaches about their opinion on the matter in case you haven’t asked enough.

  • Goldenarm

    Great BCS football game last night at the Rose Bowl.

    Anyone see McCoy’s comments post game? Dude is the ultimate class act, despite his obvious pain at being unable to play, he gives praise to Bama and to his back up – young QB who came in and did all he could. At one point when asked how he felt – McCoy reflected and could barely speak.

    The athleticism and power of both teams was evident all night long. Excellent football from the trenches to the defensive secondary. Talk about a dedicated and rabid fan base!

  • All sports

    Maybe the reason you don’t get more clicks from other sports is you feature football and baseball. Simply look at how many football stories are on the blog. Why don’t you list other sports all-league teams..because you don’t cover them much so readership isn’t there. Where are the league representatives? They have a responsibility to the student-athletes to submit all of the sports All-League teams to the papers, but obviously they don’t. You’re focusing on the few sports and your readership is going away. Of course, if you’re featuring the few sports those will be the most of your readers. Why is SGVN paper talking about baseball on your blog during basketball, soccer and wrestling seasons? These other athletes do work hard also. If you covered different schools and different sports, your readership would increase. Considering the papers have cut back on writers, you are doing a lot more high school coverage than before and it’s appreciated, and hope that you look at covering different schools.

  • All sports

    Maybe the reason you don’t get more clicks from other sports is you feature football and baseball. Simply look at how many football stories are on the blog. Why don’t you list other sports all-league teams..because you don’t cover them much so readership isn’t there. Where are the league representatives? They have a responsibility to the student-athletes to submit all of the sports All-League teams to the papers, but obviously they don’t. You’re focusing on the few sports and your readership is going away. Of course, if you’re featuring the few sports those will be the most of your readers. Why is SGVN paper talking about baseball on your blog during basketball, soccer and wrestling seasons? These other athletes do work hard also. If you covered different schools and different sports, your readership should increase.
    Considering the papers have cut back on writers, you are doing a lot more high school coverage than before and it’s sincerely appreciated.

  • Don Chonkolerro

    For all I care they could enter Chonky McChonkChonk in the scorebook FCOL. SG s’chonk’candal Biggest dweebism of 2010 decade

  • YO

    Don,
    Give it a rest. It wasn’t funny the 1st 4 times.

  • Yup

    To All Sports: They never cover all the sports, I rarely read here anymore because of that. I live in Pasadena and read the SGV news since they cover other sports that I enjoy. Wrestling, swimming, track…..all of them. Football is fun but that’s all they blog about.

    I like Kieth Laird, he does a good job hitting the news and seems to like it.

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