Cal Lutheran turns over both coaches

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Lindsay Samaniego led Cal Lutheran to the SCIAC playoffs in five of her six seasons at the University.
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Cal Lutheran lost its head men's and women's basketball coaches to other colleges and quickly filled the vacancies with alumni coaching in the same Southern California high school league.

On Friday, Waynesburg University confirmed via press release that Cal Lutheran men's basketball coach Tim Fusina is returning to Western Pennsylvania to lead the Comets' men's program. Fusina was born in Charleroi, Pennsylvania, which is about 20 miles south of Pittsburgh, and did his undergraduate and graduate studies at Division II California (Pa.). After working on the coaching staffs at Washington and Jefferson and Pitt-Greensburg, Fusina was named the head coach at Centenary (N.J.) in 2013. He went 48-58 in four seasons with the Cyclones before moving west to take the same position at Cal Lutheran where he went 16-32 in two seasons.

"I think each experience has helped me evolve both as a coach and as a person. I've been able to figure out what works and what doesn't at each spot and intend to continue to develop as a coach here at Waynesburg," Fusina said in the release. "I am excited for the challenge ahead and look forward to getting to know everyone. I am proud to be a part of the Waynesburg Family."

Fusina replaces Mark Christner who returned to his alma mater Calvin College to coach the Knights' women's basketball program. 

Cal Lutheran also lost its head women's basketball coach when Lindsay (Goldblatt) Samaniego took the head coaching job at San Diego Mesa Community College. Samaniego played collegiately at San Diego State and coached for six seasons at Moorpark Community College, which is in the same conference as San Diego Mesa College.

Samaniego went 91-66 in six seasons at Cal Lutheran. The Regals reached the SCIAC playoffs in Samaniego's first five seasons and then went 9-16, 6-10 last season.

Cal Lutheran did not waste any time in filling the vacancies.

Cal Lutheran hired 1994 graduate Russell White to lead its men's program. White had been the head coach at Crespi High School in Encino, Calif. for 12 seasons. White won two divisional and two sectional titles during his time at Crespi. 

White told the Los Angeles Daily News that he was a candidate for the same job two seasons ago when Cal Lutheran hired Fusina.

“I went for it two years ago and didn’t get it,” White told the News. “This time around, the process went quickly. It’s been a career goal of mine to be the coach at Cal Lu, my alma mater.”

Cal Lutheran hired another alumni out of the same high school league to lead its women's program. Kelli (McCaskill) DiMuro, who graduated from CLU in 1996, will take over the Regals' program after being the head coach at Chaminade College Prepatory High School in West Hills, Calif. DiMuro was the Los Angeles Times' Coach of the Year in 2015.