Longtime boys basketball coach and former Star-News coach of the year Hung Duong accused of “intimidation” tactics

By Zen Vuong, Pasadena Star-News
A Mark Keppel basketball coach allegedly used intimidation tactics recently to get a high school student to not “step out of line” by talking to the media, Anthony Acosta said.
Varsity Coach Hung Duong allegedly confronted Acosta, 17, less than 24 hours after a Star-News article quoted Acosta voicing his disappointment over Alhambra Unified School District’s decision to cut Horizons, a college preparatory program.
“He was like, ‘Why are you talking about this class? I don’t want you misrepresenting basketball,’” Acosta said. “It was just really intimidating. Like you would expect my coach to like encourage me to use my First Amendment right but, from what I got from him, he was basically saying don’t step out of line.”


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  • reality

    If being told by a coach or teacher to “not get out of line” is bullying then I was was tortured and emolated by my coach when I was a teen. No need to go public with this one Zen, or are you trying to play the race card? Lawsuits anyone?

    • Itako

      Duong is guilty of that and much more he is like Sterling… Ask the basketball players at keppel…. oh wait they might get cut … they have been cut…

  • Sgv for 30 years

    OMG!!! Why is this one even a story. I thought there was going to be this long line of abuse both physical and mental. But if your coach scaring you is bullying, ………man we wouldn’t have many coaches left. Rutgers was what I would call bullying and intimidating. This generation would have never survived the 80’s. Toughen up Sally!!!!!!!

  • Lupe

    So I guess me telling this kid to STFU would be really out of line?

  • Fred

    Ms. Vuong, or should I say, Ms. Annie Lee since you are embarrassed
    of the name your parents gave you, this is a very unfortunate story. I
    cannot believe that you would have the audacity to write a story about Mr. Duong that is based on absolute misinformation and false accusations. You work for the Star News and are trying to make a name for yourself, and I get that. But you should not sell your soul to move up in your career. I don’t know how you can sleep at night knowing that you are disparaging one of the most amazing examples of the American dream to ever come to this country. I am truly disappointed that you would do such a thing.

    Clearly, you are a well-educated person who worked hard to acquire the position you now hold. Clearly, Ms. Vuong, you did not earn a 2.0 grade point average. Clearly, Ms. Vuong, you did not have parents who were “advocating” on your behalf when you earned a 2.0. No, on the contrary, they advocated
    on your behalf to make sure you earned excellent grades so that you could earn your way into college. They valued education, and handed that value down to you. That’s how they advocated on your behalf. They would not have looked for a way to blame other people for their shortcomings. This is why I am appalled that you would think it proper to write such an article defaming a person who has epitomized the American Dream: hard work, get an education, and then give back your heart and soul to the country that gave you the opportunity. No excuses…Just hard work.

    Wait, I am wrong to assume that you do not believe in blaming others. You blame your parents for your name. That is really sad. And, if you are trying to be an “advocate” on race issues, you are an absolute joke.

    How dare you call your parents “thoughtless”. Ms. Vuong, re-read what you recently wrote and reflect on it.

    “What did bother me was my name: Zen Mei Vuong. I had such thoughtless
    parents! They should’ve known the playground kids would call me “zit”
    because of this grotesque moniker. I wished my parents had named me
    “Annie Lee.”

    I dreamed of legally changing my name to Annie Lee and then marrying someone with an awesome surname. Like Smith, Johnson or Miller.”

    Ms. Vuong, or should I say, Ms. Annie Lee, you are an immature, irresponsible, journalist.

    I have known Mr. Duong since he would dominate my basketball team in
    middle school. He demonstrated the same admirable qualities in middle
    school that he demonstrates now. The passion, reverence, and respect
    with which he approaches his profession mirrored the passion I
    experienced on the basketball court as he used hard work and dedication
    to hone his basketball skills to the point where he became a legendary
    athlete in Alhambra and then played four years at Occidental College.
    Ms. Vuong, Mr. Duong advocated for himself because his family instilled
    in him the value of education and hard work. They would not dare allow
    him to make up an excuse for a 2.0. A 2.0 is unacceptable and is not to
    be blamed on others. When you are tardy and ditch school as often as
    possible, you earn a 2.0. If the parents of the student and yourself
    were concerned with advocacy, why didn’t you make sure that the child
    was raised to value education and understand that being tardy, ditching
    school, and disrespecting teachers was unacceptable.

    This is the truth you should be sensationalizing. This will allow you to make a name for yourself. And, Ms. Vuong, this would not be the easy, lazy approach. You did not take the easy, lazy approach to earn the position you now have…so why are you taking this type of approach on the job? I would surely hope
    that you are better than that. Use your own brain and the values you
    were taught (Oh, that’s hard for you because your parents were
    “thoughtless”.) to assess such ludicrous claims before you allow someone
    to disparage an educator such as Mr. Duong.

    Ms. Vuong, you are trying to make a difference in your community. You have the
    opportunity to do so. Complete your due diligence and write a story that is true.
    Sensationalize it, and make a name for yourself.

    The headline has already been written for you. “Ms. Lee apologizes for advocating on behalf of a family that believes in blaming others and has not taught their child the value of hard work.”

    Take this opportunity to do what is right.

    You may ask, “What right does this person have to write a commentary like this?” And, I don’t blame you.

    However, let me tell you something. Like Mr. Duong, I am a fellow educator. I have been teaching in the Los Angeles Unified School District for 18 years. And, both of my parents taught at public elementary schools for their entire careers. And, Ms. Vuong, let me tell you something else. They sure did advocate on my behalf. That first time I tried to blame the teacher in second grade, they marched me right in the next day and made me tell the teacher to her face what I was trying to blame her for. I never tried that again. And, I was never late to a class and I never ditched a class. Do you think that has to do with my parents advocating on my behalf?

    Ms. Vuong, they advocated on my behalf. They showed me how wrong I was. They taught me the value of respect and getting an education my entire life.
    They never looked for a way to blame others. They looked in the mirror.
    In the end, they raised three children who graduated at the top of
    their class, earned post-graduate degrees, and are now having a positive
    impact on their community. Ms. Vuong, yes, they sure did advocate on
    our behalf. And, in the process of advocating on our behalf, they never
    pointed the finger at someone else.

    Furthermore, to the person who fed the idea of First Amendment rights to this student, I’m really disappointed. I really looked up to you. I thought you were better than that. Stop preaching to these children. You’re being an absolute
    hypocrite. Look in the mirror. You know exactly how you treated your
    players when they played for you. And, you were the bully. So, it’s
    time you stop being hypocritical and holier than thou before you make
    the owner of the Clippers look like Mother Theresa.

    Ms. Lee, write that sensational story. I know it’s in you.