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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, August 17, 2006

Former coach admits to giving players beer

Advertiser Staff

A former Lana'i girls basketball coach pleaded guilty yesterday to charges he provided beer to underage players during a preseason trip to O'ahu in March 2005.

Russell Zablan, who was fired from his head coaching job at the small high school, had originally pleaded not guilty but changed his mind yesterday in District Court. Zablan pleaded guilty to seven counts of providing liquor to a minor misdemeanors and one count of harassment, a petty misdemeanor.

District Court Judge Rhonda Nishimura granted Zablan a deferred acceptance of guilt on all charges, but he must return to court in a year. If Zablan abides by conditions set by the court, his record could be erased.

Honolulu prosecutors objected to the deferral and had asked for jail time.

Zablan was ordered to perform 30 hours of community service for each count and pay the state $200 for each count. Because he received a deferred acceptance of guilt, the money is not called a fine.

In court, Zablan admitted to providing beer to seven players during the tournament in March 2005. The players were 13 to 18 years old.