UPDATED: Johnny Lopez says he’s still the coach at Blair and has conducted three practices … won’t disclose a number for how many players are in the program …

Blair High School named Johnny Lopez as its new varsity football head coach last Friday.

Lopez, 50, was most recently head coach at Eagle Rock for one season in 2008. He graduated from Rosemead in 1979.

Blair has had three practices since his hiring, Lopez said. However, Lopez would not say how many players are currently on the roster and only that “players are trickling in.”

When asked if there were currently enough players to field a varsity team, Lopez said “Definitely”.

Reports from Blair parents, however, were that only six players participated in practice on Tuesday morning. Then later in the day, parents said they were told on Tuesday afternoon that Lopez did not pass his background check and was no longer head coach. Lopez said those claims were untrue.

Aram’s take: This story would be aided greatly if school officials would simply return phone calls. Why Lopez would not give an exact number of players currently in the program, or even an estimate, is a bit concerning. But I’ll take him at his word that there are enough for a team. For the time being, it looks like Blair will have a varsity team. There have been several defections from last year’s team. What their eligibility will be at their new schools is unclear. Any current players who were hoping for immediate eligibility at a new school if Blair does not field a varsity team may have just had their hopes crushed.