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Uphoff takes over at El Camino College
[April 18, 2012]

Uphoff takes over at El Camino College

Apr 18, 2012 (The Porterville Recorder - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- In this economy, Robert Uphoff knows how fortunate he is to have a full-time job at the junior college level.

Uphoff, the former Monache and Porterville College standout, has been hired as the new men's basketball coach at El Camino College. It's a full-time position as Uphoff will also serve as a professor at the school.

Uphoff has a master's in physical education and will teach P.E. and health classes at El Camino. "That was probably the best thing about it," said Uphoff on Tuesday on the coaching position also including teaching duties.

El Camino was only one of two full-time junior college men's basketball coaching positions available at this time with the other being Mt. San Antonio College.

And considering that Mt. SAC is one of the state's top JC athletic programs, receiving a full-time job at any JC such as El Camino is impressive.

"To actually get one of them is an absolute blessing," said Uphoff about the El Camino job.

El Camino is located in Torrance in Southern California, a fertile ground for recruiting, another attractive aspect of the job, Uphoff said. El Camino is also coming off an oustanding season. After finishing in the middle of the pack in its conference, El Camino was seeded No. 15 in the Southern California State playoffs.

After winning its first round playoff game, El Camino upset No. 2 Mt. SAC in the next round. El Camino then lost to Antelope Valley, which advanced to the State Final Four. El Camino lost only two sophomores from this past season's team and could have as many as 10 freshmen returning, although there's always a lot of changeover at the JC level.

When asked if he's already feeling some pressure to build on this past season's successful run with the possible strong nucleus returning, Uphoff said, "A little bit. We should have a good nucleus if I can keep them all here and hopefully we can get some good, quality recruits." Uphoff, though, said his main goal is to win the conference title. "That would be an outstanding challenge in itself," he said.

A 1995 Monache graduate, Uphoff went on to play for George Nessman, now San Jose State's coach, at PC. He was a member of the 1997 team that went 27-6 and came within an eyelash of advancing to the State Final Eight when it lost a close game at San Jose City College in the Northern California Regional finals.

Uphoff went on to finish his playing career at Fresno Pacific. He has experience at the Division I level as he served as the video coordinator and director of operations for the Fresno State men's basketball team. He has also had two stints as an assistant coach under College of the Sequoias men's basketball coach Rusty Smith. In 2007-2008, he served in the part-time position as the men's basketball coach at Barstow College before he returned to COS where he served through this past season.

Right now, Uphoff, said he doesn't have any aspirations to coach at the Division I level, calling it "very time consuming and very hard on your family. That could be something down the road. It's not even in my thoughts at this point." Uphoff said he has been influenced by Smith and that Nessman still has a heavy influence on him. "Rusty has been a huge mentor to me," he said. "There's a lot of carryover and what I use from Coach Nessman." ___ (c)2012 The Porterville Recorder (Porterville, Calif.) Visit The Porterville Recorder (Porterville, Calif.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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