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Coach, two players out in Canyon High scandal

Posted: January 15, 2009 10:08 p.m.
Updated: January 16, 2009 4:30 a.m.
Canyon High School girls basketball coach, Stan Delus, observes his team during a game on Jan. 23, 2007. Canyon High School girls basketball coach, Stan Delus, observes his team during a game on Jan. 23, 2007.
Canyon High School girls basketball coach, Stan Delus, observes his team during a game on Jan. 23, 2007.

Canyon High girls basketball head coach Stan Delus gave up his job and his team forfeited its 11 victories so far this season because of falsified student records, school administrators said Thursday.

Two players, including the team's leading scorer and its top rebounder, were removed from Canyon High School and placed in schools within the district where they live, said Pete Getz, Canyon assistant principal in charge of athletics.

"We are saddened by this. Both (Canyon Principal) Bob Messina and I are saddened by this," Getz said.
Delus was remorseful about the situation.

"I take full responsibility," he said. "I knew the situation was the way it was. It should have been corrected."

The Cowboys were the most highly touted among the Foothill League girls' basketball teams.

The two students removed from Canyon High were shooting guard and junior Vanessa Aguilar and junior forward Alexa Davison.

Aguilar had transferred to Canyon from Grant High in Van Nuys; Davison had transferred from Cleveland High in Reseda, prior to the 2008-09 school year.

The student/athletes were cleared by the CIF-Southern Section to participate in basketball activities on Oct. 15, Getz said.

But suspicions of illegal recruitment were brought up by Valencia head coach Jerry Mike to his own administration that month.

Valencia administrators sent a letter of complaint to Canyon High.

"There had been complaints from a number of coaches, even coaches not even in the Foothill League," Mike said.

Delus has been a coach for Finest Basketball Club - a travel basketball team based out of Rancho Cucamonga.

Aguilar and Davison also play for the team.

Delus, who is not a teacher, said he did not recruit the girls to play at Canyon.

As to why the girls chose Canyon, he said there could have been a number of reasons.

"The school. They knew some kids already there," Delus cited. "Despite what people say, I know the game of basketball. I feel like I'm a good coach. It could have been a lot of factors. It wasn't, ‘You come here and play at this school and I could get you on FBC.'"

Canyon High launched an investigation and informed administrators at Valencia that the transfers were determined to be legitimate.

But Getz said he continued to receive phone-call and e-mail complaints about the girls' eligibility in December.

On Wednesday morning, Getz, the school's registrar and its sheriff's deputy made a residency check on Aguilar and Davison at the Santa Clarita Valley addresses listed on their records.

It was determined that neither girl lived at those residences.

Getz said it was also determined that Delus was transporting one of the girls to the other girl's house in the San Fernando Valley before school on a couple of occasions. A parent then would take the two girls to Canyon High.

Getz and Messina met with Delus on Wednesday, and it was mutually agreed the coach would leave Canyon High.

Assistant coach Todd Jackson was named interim head coach.

On Thursday, the Canyon players were informed.

Canyon was ranked No. 71 in the state by and had won 11 of 16 contests this season.

Aguilar was the team's leading scorer at 12.1 points per game.

She had just scored 32 points for Canyon in a 75-57 win over West Ranch in the Foothill League opener on Tuesday.

Davison scored 10 points in that game. She was the squad's leading rebounder at 8.7 per contest.

Both girls lose their eligibility to play this year. Delus was in his fifth year with the Cowboys.

He finishes his stint at 70-59 (including the now 0-16 mark from this season).

The Cowboys made a Cinderella run to the 2006 CIF-Southern Section Division I-A championship game but lost to Hart 54-37.

Getz said the school will search for a permanent coach after the season.

As for this season, the CIF-Southern Section will place no further sanctions on the Cowboys.

The determination if they are playoff eligible is up to the league.

Foothill president and Saugus High Principal Bill Bolde said the Cowboys are still eligible to win a league championship and make the playoffs.


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