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Jim Staunton announces retirement from Southern Section

October 21, 2010 |  3:09 pm

Jim Staunton, the powerful commissioner of the CIF Southern Section, announced Thursday that he will retire effective July 29, 2011, likely opening the way for a  spirited competition to replace him.

Staunton made the announcement at a meeting of league representatives at the Southern Section Council meeting, though he informed the Executive Committee of his intentions in May.

In a news release, Staunton stated he will pursue teaching opportunities in a master's program at Concordia University.

Among achievements during his 11 years as commissioner, he helped establish with the Josephson Institute the 16 principles of Pursuing Victory With Honor, acquired property to move the section office from Cerritos to Los Alamitos and developed a coaches' training program on ethics.

In recent years, he has been in the middle of a growing battle involving parents trying to get their children eligible for sports after transferring without moving or for sports reasons. They seek hardship waivers, and Staunton is the one who decides whether to grant such waivers. The encounters have become increasingly combative, resulting in growing legal expenses.

Former Southern Section president Earl Haugen will head the search committee to find a replacement. There are expected to be several candidates among the assistant commissioners and probably principals and ex-principals outside the office.

One likely candidate is Rob Wigod, assistant commissioner for the last 10 years who has run football and baseball and is highly regarded for his ability to work with coaches.

Barbara Fiege, in her 18th year as commissioner of the City Section, said, "The job has definitely gotten tougher."

-- Eric Sondheimer