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New CdM coach could be announced today

April 21, 2008|By David Carrillo Penaloza

Paul Orris, Corona del Mar’s athletic director, said an announcement of Jason Hitchens becoming the school’s next football coach might be made today.

A contract dispute prevented Hitchens, a successful coach at St. Margaret’s and El Modena, from signing on with the Newport-Mesa Unified School District on Friday.

Hitchens, a history teacher at Villa Park, said he was at odds with how many years of teaching service the district credited him with in the contract if he planned to transfer into the district.

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Hitchens, 46, said he has 17 years of teaching experience.

“They have been in negotiations today,” Orris said of Hitchens and the district, which Orris said at first agreed to give Hitchens the maximum credit of 13 years until it was discovered there was a lapse in Hitchens’ teaching credential.

Hitchens, a defensive coordinator last season at Villa Park, said he has been teaching with a credential.

Hitchens led St. Margaret’s to a 14-0 season and CIF Southern Section Northeast Division championship during his one-year stint in 2006. Before that, he guided El Modena to three league titles from 1998-2003.

“[CdM Principal] Fal [Asrani] wants the announcement to be made today.” said Orris, who’s hoping Hitchens is not the third straight candidate to turn down the job in less than a month’s time.

The job has been vacant since December, when Dick Freeman said he was fired after going 67-69-2 in 12-plus seasons.

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