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CSUN'S ABRAHAM RESIGNS; `PAINFUL DECISION' FOR WOMEN'S COACH; BRASWELL TO LEAD DEPARTMENT.

Byline: Brian Dohn Daily News Staff Writer

Cal State Northridge women's basketball coach Michael Abraham resigned and men's basketball coach Bobby Braswell was named administrator-in-charge of the athletic department, the school announced Friday.

The moves are effective immediately.

The school will remain without an athletic director for the next few weeks as the university attempts to recruit an acting athletic director to replace Paul Bubb, CSUN president Blenda Wilson said.

Bubb, CSUN's athletic director for three years, and associate athletic director Judy Brame resigned under pressure from the administration in the wake Abraham's Oct. 27 arrest on the CSUN campus. Abraham was charged by the FBI with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine.

Abraham appeared in court Friday in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Block, who said the 39-year-old former coach will answer the charges in Omaha, Neb. An arraignment date was set for Nov. 23.

``I have made this painful decision (to resign) out of respect for the university and the fine student-athletes with whom I have had the privilege of being associated,'' Abraham said in a statement issued by his lawyer. ``My family and I are grateful for the support that has been offered to us during this very difficult time.''

It was Abraham's first public comment since his arrest. Abraham, who was 23-59 in three seasons at CSUN, remains free on bond. He was on paid administrative leave from the school.

CSUN announced Wednesday that assistant coach Frozena Jerro would be the acting women's coach this season.

William Watkins, assistant vice president for student life, will offer administrative support for Braswell.

``I'm very grateful to coach Braswell for taking on this assignment,'' Wilson said. ``His presence will put a steady hand at the helm of the athletic department. And the short duration of the role also will allow him to focus on the upcoming season.''

The resignations of Bubb and Brame became effective at the end of Friday's work day. Bubb severed ties with the university while Brame was reassigned to the kinesiology department.

``Our university, our athletic department, our students and our coaches are working very hard, and the news we've had the last few weeks hasn't been good news,'' Braswell said. ``It's about time we had some good news. What I hope to give the department is some leadership and some direction so that the coaches and student athletes here don't feel like we're stopped.

``I'm not going to make any big, huge policies that are going to change things drastically, but there are some little things. We need to be more supportive of one another and we need to support our teams that are here.''

Braswell, 36, is a CSUN graduate with a bachelor's degree in English. Wilson said the agreement is short-term so Braswell can concentrate on the upcoming basketball season. He begins his third season with the Matadors on Nov. 14 at Long Beach State.

CSUN's coaching contingent voted to endorse Braswell as the acting athletic director on Wednesday.

``I think it's a good choice,'' CSUN football coach Ron Ponciano said. ``He has experience, has been a part of Division I programs, and knows how they operate. It's a real good choice.''

ABRAHAM LETTER

Statement from Michael Abraham regarding his resignation Friday as women's basketball coach at Cal State Northridge:

Effective Nov. 6, 1998, I am resigning my position as the women's basketball coach at Cal State Northridge. I have made this painful decision out of respect for the university and the fine student-athletes with whom I have had the privilege of being associated. My family and I are grateful for the support that has been offered to us during this very difficult time.

CAPTION(S):

Photo, Box

Photo: (Color) ABRAHAM

Box: ABRAHAM LETTER (See Text)
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Title Annotation:SPORTS
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 7, 1998
Words:635
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