Search continues for athletic director

As the Fall semester kicks off and sports teams begin their journey to make lasting memories, Pierce College has been unable to find an athletic director to fill the vacant position.

The job was previously held by Moriah Van Norman, who announced she was stepping down in May, ending a tenure that lasted two years.

Pierce College President Alexis Montevirgen said they are working closely with human resources to identify an ideal candidate.

“There is progress in the sense of we’re continuing to move forward with posting the position and trying to get in that pool in order to be able to bring someone on board as soon as possible,” Montevirgen said. “I know we would have already wanted them onboard already, but I think at this point it’s just getting them identified and onboard.”

Bob Lofrano, who was the athletic director from 2007 to 2017, said he is frustrated with the current situation.

“To someone who played sports here and had some great moments, like the hall of fame dinner where we inducted some great coaches and incredible athletes, it is embarrassing to realize that a college that is still running an athletic program to not have a face of the department, a leader is inexcusable,” Lofrano said.

Lofrano also stressed why having an AD in place is important.

“What high school coach would want to send their athletes to Pierce in this situation? It is kind of a mess,” Lofrano said. “That is why it is so important to have an athletic director because who is going to sit in the meetings. There are 17 colleges in the Western State Conference and they’ll be asking where is the Pierce person.”

Genice Sarcedo-Magruder, dean of Athletics and Title IX coordinator, talked about the reasoning there hasn’t been anyone named as the new AD.

“We are held to the district policies. In the faculty contract we have to open the position internally and we didn’t have enough of a candidate poll,” Sarcedo-Magruder said. “We opened up to the district and it’s the same situation.”

Sarcedo-Magruder said they couldn’t interview some of the candidates because they were not internal, full-time faculty members, or just didn’t qualify.

If they don’t have someone within the district, they will open the position externally and will have the posting for six weeks, according to Sarcedo-Magruder.

“If we have to open the position externally, hopefully we have more of a candidate poll of people who are interested in the position and pick someone that meets the requirements,” Sarcedo-Magruder said.

Sarcedo-Magruder hopes there are enough people after this attempt, and if successful, they will hold interviews and have someone named by mid-Fall.

Since Sarcedo-Magruder knows the procedures and worked closely with Van Norman, she is currently filling in for the AD position.

She is confident that the Fall sports will do great and this situation will not make them lose focus.

In 2007, Lofrano was approached by former President Kathleen Burke about taking over as the AD. Up until he retired in June 2017, Pierce only had three athletic directors over 35 years. Since he retired, there have been two AD’s, both of whom stepped down.

“It made sense because after coaching baseball for 35 years. I was ready to stop and it was perfect to go in and do that,” Lofrano said. “If any of the current coaches would want to apply they couldn’t, because they wouldn’t qualify.”

Lofrano said he is open to having a conversation with the administration about the open role. He also offered to help so the program would remain afloat until things settled in. 

“If coaches needed advice I will be open to give it to them and I’ll attend the meetings,” Lofrano said. “I am not campaigning for the position, I’m just upset with what I am seeing.”

Head Soccer Coach Adolfo Perez said the situation is not ideal for his team.

“We need someone at the helm. If we wanted to change the time to a game we can’t do it because our AD will have to contact their AD to agree on the changes,” Perez said.

Head Football Coach Carlos Woods said not having an athletic director won’t make them lose focus.

“We have a season to prepare for, it is getting the players and coaches on board for this year. All I can say, it’s about trusting the process that the right person will be named,” Woods said.