50 years ago — A report that the Brawley Union High School varsity football coach, Hal McNaughton, was “fired” by the board of trustees was confirmed today by McNaughton.

Board members this morning either were unavailable or did not wish to discuss the matter.

School Superintendent Edward F. van Dam, who told this paper earlier no action was taken at an “executive session” Monday, also was unavailable for comment by press time.

But McNaughton said today the board, during that Monday closed session, asked him to resign as head football coach.

“I refused to resign,” said the coach, “and they fired me.”

McNaughton, head coach for five years, said he felt the action was “highly unjustified.” He added that the board, in his judgment, offered vague reasons for their action.

But asked to speculate, McNaughton said he believes it was “an accumulation of things,” perhaps best summarized as a “clash of personalities.”

McNaughton said the losing season last year, four wins and five losses, was the “straw that broke the camel’s back. This has been coming on for some time.”

The coach said he apparently had incurred the ire of the board by seeking what he considered to be some necessary improvements in the physical education department — more pay and more help.

McNaughton said he also asked that the coaches have more involvement in judging an athlete’s qualifications for a sport.

He cited the egg-throwing incident last Halloween. Several football team members temporarily were suspended.

McNaughton said he still is director of athletics, but what his future plans are may depend on who is named head football coach “and whether I can work with him.”


40 years ago — Two more earthquakes rocked Imperial Valley over the weekend in what apparently is a continuing aftermath of the Oct. 15 break along the Imperial Fault.

“In all probability, they are aftershocks,” Dr. Kate Hutton, a seismologist at the California Institute of Technology, said today. She noted, “The activity is still high” in the Valley.

The strongest shock over the weekend was registered at 12:11 p.m. Saturday. It tipped Cal Tech’s Pasadena Richter Scale at 4.4 and was centered in an area 6 miles south of Brawley. The second quake occurred at 1:12 p.m. Sunday, registering 3.6 on the scale. It was centered 6 miles north of Brawley.

No major damage was reported as a result of the quakes felt over the weekend. But today survey crews from the county Public Works department were checking the badly damaged county Services Building.

David Pierson, public works director, said so far no additional problems have been detected.

According to Dr. Hutton, both quakes were in the vicinity of either the Brawley or Imperial faults. Seismologists today had not yet pinpointed the exact location.


30 years ago — Opposition to Sen. Alan Cranston’s Desert Protection Bill began to build this week in Imperial Valley after rock hounds, mining industry representatives, off-road vehicle enthusiasts, and other desert users met to organize.

“The purpose of this meeting tonight is to get information out about the passage of legislation which would have an impact on the California desert,” said Jim Strain, a rock collector and former member of the BLM-sponsored desert advisory council, Friday at the meeting. “In reality, the California desert affects all of us.”

Strain, one of the driving forces to oppose the Cranston bill and to reactivate the Imperial Valley Desert Users Association, told the audience of about 50 people they needed to coordinate their efforts if they were to defeat the bill.

“Not much will be accomplished if we go off in different directions,” said Strain, who advised the assemblage to support a bill proposed by Rep. Duncan Hunter and three other colleagues, which closely parallels the California Desert Conservation Area Plan, written by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and adopted by Congress in 1980.

While BLM representatives were present at the meeting, they spoke neither for or against the bills, giving instead a comparison between Cranston’s bill and the desert plan.

The focus of opposition is primarily aimed at Wilderness areas proposed in the Cranston bill, known as S-11. An exact copy of the bill has been proposed in the House of Representatives and is known as HR-780. The bill proposes nearly 300,000 acres of wilderness in Imperial and eastern San Diego counties, while the BLM has requested that Congress approve 107,000 wilderness acres. The Hunter bill asks for 99,000 acres.


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