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MAZMANIAN CALLS IT QUITS; LONG-TIME MT. SAC COACH TO RETIRE AFTER 31 YEARS ON JOB.

Byline: Jim McConnell

Art Mazmanian, baseball coach at Mt. San Antonio College for the past 31 seasons, has announced his retirement.

``It's been fun, but Shirley (Mazmanian's wife) needs me now,'' Mazmanian said in announcing his decision to step down.

Shirley Mazmanian had back surgery several years ago, which left her with limited mobility.

The Mazmanians reside in Walnut. Their daughter, Nancy, is a public relations director for the Anaheim Angels.

``I've recommended Tom Pokorski to take over the program,'' Mazmanian said. ``He's done a great job as my assistant the past few seasons and he's certainly deserving. And if he wants me too, I'd be glad to help him out.''

Mazmanian, 72, succeeded Ron Squire as coach of the Mounties in 1969. Prior to that, he had coached baseball and football at Dorsey High in Los Angeles, the school from which he graduated in 1944.

Mazmanian was an All-American second baseman at USC, played on the Trojans' 1948 national championship squad, graduated from USC in 1949 and then spent six seasons in the New York Yankees farm system.

In addition to coaching at Mt. SAC and Dorsey, Mazmanian spent 17 summers managing in the minor leagues. In all, he coached baseball for 44 years and his teams won 1,500 games. He served as an assistant coach under Rod Dedeaux for the U.S. Olympic team in 1984.

At Mt. SAC, Mazmanian's teams won 709 games and suffered through only two losing seasons in 31 years. More than 120 of his players went on to play pro ball, including former or current major-leaguers Doug Bird, Mike Potter, Kevin Bell, Ron Roenicke, Bob Veselic, Rob Nelson, Terry Clark, Keith Lockhart, Brett Tomko and Chris Woodward.

``Maz was the best manager I played for in baseball,'' said former major- leaguer Jack Clark, who played for Mazmanian at Great Falls (Montana) in the Pioneer League in 1973. ``In terms of knowledge of the game and handling players, he was head and shoulders above most of the guys I played for in the pros, and that includes some of my major-league managers.

``He helped me tremendously, not because it would help him keep his job but because it would help me become a better player. He's a very classy, unselfish man, the type of guy you don't find very often.''

The Mounties went 27-17 in Mazmanian's final season and made the State Community College playoffs. Midway through the season, the team was forced to forfeit six games due to use of an ineligible player.

``In all my years here, I never had that happen before,'' Mazmanian said. ``It (the forfeits) was a tough thing to deal with. It's bad when something the coaching staff and athletic department does, or in this case, doesn't do has a negative impact on the kids. The forfeits cost us a shot at a conference title and my players knew it.

``But I really admired our guys for battling back and winning a doubleheader over L.A. Harbor on the last day of the regular season to get us into the playoffs. That was something to be proud of.

``My first team at Mt. SAC won a conference title (in 1969), so it would have been nice to go out with another title. But it just wasn't to be.

``Still, the really important thing, beyond the wins and losses, is that I had the honor and privilege of coaching so many great kids. You don't become a coach because you want to win, you become a coach because you want to help kids become better players.

``I had a great run at Mt. SAC and now the time is right to end it. Family comes first.''

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Title Annotation:SPORTS
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 9, 1999
Words:623
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