Northridge Fires Football Coach
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Cal State Northridge coach Ron Ponciano was fired Friday amid an internal university inquiry into alleged rules violations in the football program.
Although the independent inquiry continues, interim university president Louanne Kennedy said the results so far show ``serious and substantial″ violations of NCAA and university rules that compelled the school to take action.
``While we are continuing to sort through some of the allegations, the picture of non-compliance that has already emerged is clear, serious and substantial,″ Kennedy said. ``Thus it was necessary to make a change now for the coming season.″
The university sent Ponciano a letter firing him from the job he’s held since February 1998.
The Matadors were 7-4 last season, tying for second in the Big Sky Conference with a 5-3 record. Previously, Ponciano was defensive coordinator during the 1995 and 1996 seasons.
Ponciano will receive the standard 90 days severance pay, the university said. He wasn’t available for comment.
The inquiry was spurred by an anonymous letter received May 19 that listed 20 allegations. The inquiry, begun May 24, is being headed by Northridge’s internal auditor and its faculty athletic representative. The NCAA also has been consulted, university officials said.
``We are determined to resolve all of the allegations raised in the letter,″ Kennedy said.
University officials met Friday with the football coaching staff and players to explain the firing.
Kennedy said assistant Terrance Johnson will be the team’s administrator in charge until a coach is hired. Northridge opens the season at home Sept. 4 against Western Oregon.
``As an institution, Cal State Northridge is committed to a strong athletic program that plays by the rules and wins,″ athletic director Dick Dull said. ``We’ll be looking for a football coach who can do both.″