POLY'S PALMER WINS 600TH GAME

The state's exclusive club for boys basketball coaches with at least 600 wins in their careers jumped by 10 percent on Tuesday of this week when Ron Palmer hit the magic number.

Palmer, who has had two separate stints as the head coach at Long Beach Poly, earned No. 600 with a 66-40 win by the Jackrabbits over Cabrillo of Long Beach. The 63-year-old was hoping to get the big win one night earlier, but Poly fell in a close one, 55-54, to Artesia of Lakewood.

According to the Cal-Hi Sports record book, which is the exclusive source for all state coaching records, Palmer is just the 10th coach in state history to make it to 600 wins.

The No. 1 total on the list of 829 wins by Lou Cvijanovich from Santa Clara of Oxnard is expected to change hands in a matter of weeks or days as Mike Phelps from Bishop O'Dowd of Oakland began this week just three off Cvijnovich's total. Phelps still gets the wins on his record even though he's been missing from the bench the last few games due to what has been reported as personal reasons.

The other seven members of the 600-win club are Abe Abrami from Emery of Emeryville (retired), Frank LaPorte from St. Joseph of Alameda (deceased), Willie West from Crenshaw of Los Angeles (still going strong), Bill Armstrong mostly known from Compton (died just two weeks ago), Gary McKnight of Santa Ana Mater Dei (has this year's No. 1 team), Tom Danley from Katella of Anaheim (retired) and Jim Boyd from Vanden of Travis AFB (retired).

"One of my career goals was to get to 600," Palmer told the Long Beach Press-Telegram. "To be in that group with guys like Willie West, Bill Armstrong, Lou Cvijanovich, (Mike) Phelps and Gary McKnight...that's quite an honor. When I walk away, I think I can look back and point to this as one of the major accomplishments in my coaching career."

The Jackrabbits led Cabrillo by 47-37 entering the fourth quarter and locked up the milestone win by scoring the first seven points of that quarter. They were led by junior forward Marcus Lewis, who scored 21 points.

"This is a great milestone for Coach P and I'm glad to be a part of it," Lewis said. "We needed to get a win tonight and keep our heads up and to make sure he got 600."

Palmer has said he will retire after this season.


Golden State Preps Top Stories