By Erik Luna
State championship winning coach Lynn Cain was fired after four years as head coach for the Huskies’ football program last week. His being fired prompted many to speak out against the East Los Angeles College Athletics Department. ELAC Athletics Director Al Cone asked Cain to collect his belongings and turn in his keys by Feb. 3.
“Quite often with these situations communication between coaches, administration and staff is a problem,” said Cone. “I wish him the best, but this is not a knee-jerk reaction. This has been an ongoing conversation for more than a year already.”
Cain led the Huskies to win the American Championship Bowl last semester in a 42 – 28 win against the Santa Monica College Corsairs. The Monterey Park City Council honored the football team starting with Cain on Jan. 17. Former ELAC instructor and Congresswoman Judy Chu praised Cain on a job well done with coaching the Huskies.
Cain, who holds countless coaching records for the ELAC football program including the coach of the year award for the Southern California Football Association American Division Mountain Conference, was not available for comment.
However, his wife Lisa said she was shocked to hear that her husband had been let go. “My husband really pushed the firing because he was asked to resign. The reason is because he would not do or go along with the way the athletic director wanted to conduct that program,” said Mrs. Cain.
It was generally agreed by most of the football department that the main reason for Cain’s dismissal was simply because the football program is going toward a different direction. Cone said that Steve Mojarro has been named the interim head coach.
“I’d like to thank Coach Cain,” said Mojarro. “We were together for four years, and he surely accomplished a lot. You can’t take nothing from what he’s done, but the staff that is staying and that is going to keep working here is going to make sure that ELAC is represented in a respectable and in a competitive way.”
Al Padilla, who was the head football coach when Cain played for the Huskies during 1972 – ’74, was present at the Jan. 30 meeting when Cone told Cain he was fired, said he was strongly against Cain being let go.
“(Cain) was the most valuable player in 1974, when I was the head coach, and went on to win a state championship,” said Padilla. Cain was the star player in the Southern California Conference Champion, where he was named the state’s player of the year.
Cain brought a state title home before transferring to play football as a starting fullback for the University of Southern California and later going to play as a fullback for the Atlanta Falcons and in the National Football League. “ELAC just has a very funny way of treating one of their alumni that has coached for them for four years and won them championships,” said Padilla.
Padilla mentioned that California Assembly Member of the 45th District Gil Cedillo, who played with Cain as a Roosevelt Roughrider, was trying to get the school to overturn the decision but the college president ultimately has the power to overturn the decision.
Padilla said he has been helping ELAC for countless years, saying that he had been speaking on behalf of the college and helping out when it came to picking the coaches. “Don’t call me anymore. I will not back up ELAC anymore,” said Padilla.