Bulldogs program attempts to learn from, move past hazing incident By Bill kolB | Contributor There are plenty of things Alan Hern expected for his ﬁrst year as the head coach of the Alhambra High varsity football team. Navigating through a scandal wasn’t one of them. “It’s kind of a black cloud over the whole football program,” Hern said of the heavily-publicized hazing event which occurred within the freshman program. “If anybody does anything questionable now, the ﬁrst question is, ‘Is he a football player?’” By now the details of the Sept. 29 incident are widely known — the story was even picked up on a limited level nationally by the likes of Fox News. Before a Wednesday afternoon practice, six members of the freshman team taped together the legs of one of their 15-year-old teammates and punched him on the locker room ﬂoor. The Martinez Uniﬁed School District is moving forward with expulsion proceedings on the one individual deemed the ringleader. Five other players were suspended from school for ﬁve days and kicked off of the football team for the year.
October 28, 2010
inside look: alhambra “It’s been a mess,” Hern said. “We’re talking about some basically good kids and really good football players who we’re trying to develop.” Hern said that the news of the hazing sent ripples through the entire program, from freshman to junior varsity to varsity, even though no one from outside the freshman team was involved. But Hern’s varsity group was lackluster in a 33-14 loss to a mediocre Dublin squad on Oct. 8 in the game immediately following the story breaking, and the coach said there was deﬁnitely a hangover effect at play. “Instead of talking about football, I’ve had to talk to them about decorum and responsibility and using good judgment,” Hern said. “I’ve had conversations with my (varsity) team and the JVs about expectations. Everyone has got the message at this point.” The Bulldogs will now hope to send a message. One that says they won’t let a good season go awry. Following the loss to Dublin, Alhambra notched a
hard-fought 14-12 win over Acalanes, and remains in the hunt for its second straight Diablo Foothill Athletic League title. Miramonte leads the league at 3-1, but Alhambra, Dougherty Valley and Las Lomas are all tied for second at 2-1. The Bulldogs beat Las Lomas 35-21 on Oct. 1. Alhambra’s next three games (Campolindo, Dougherty Valley and Miramonte) could go a long way toward determining the eventual champ. Hern said the district and school administration took immediate, decisive action following news of the incident, suspending players in question, scheduling bullying training, conducting an already scheduled cyber-bullying training session, and speaking directly to the players. And though he said that the relevant message has gotten through to all of the players in the program, the pall will continue to hang over anyone wearing a football jersey this year.
“It’s going to be an ongoing thing at this point,” Hern said. Can it be a sidenote to a successful season? That’s still up to the Bulldogs.
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