Lack of budget leaves athletics department without full-timers

Sports coaches, on many college campuses, teach classes throughout the day and then transition to leading practice for their team. Pierce is not one of those colleges.

None of the 13 sports coaches at Pierce are hired as full-time instructors, despite the athletic department’s attempts to change that.

Athletic Director Bob Lofrano said he was the last person to be hired as a full-time coach in 1989. He was hired to coach baseball and teach physical education.

Lofrano said the problem with coaches not being full-time instructors is that they have to get a second, and sometimes third job off campus, and as a result are not accessible to the student athletes.

“What if there’s a problem,” Lofrano said. “What if [the athletes] need some guidance and their coach is selling real estate until 3 o’clock? It’s really a burden.”

Lofrano said he does not know why the coaches are overlooked when the kinesiology department has an opening for a full-time teacher, but he has been vocal about wanting this to change.

“I think it’s a burden on the whole campus because athletes are here all day long,” Lofrano said. “They wait around for practice. It’s not like the regular student who comes in at 8 and leaves at 12 because he lives three miles away, goes home, eats lunch, goes to work. The athletes wait.”

Football coach Jason Sabolic wants to be a full-time instructor at Pierce.

He has been an adjunct faculty member for the last 13 years, and said he has had three opportunities to be hired within the health and kinesiology department. He did not receive an interview any of those three times.

Sabolic, like many of the other coaches, is a teacher at a different campus during the day. He teaches chemistry at El Camino Real High School, and drives over to Pierce for football practice in the afternoons.

“Football is a full-time job with this many kids,” Sabolic said. “They’re roaming around. That’s one of the major problems. There’s no oversight of those 120 kids [involved with the football team] and that’s a big group on campus.”

Chance Cole, a sophomore on the basketball team, said getting a hold of coach Charles White before or after practice isn’t a problem for him.
“We have his phone number, so I can call him during the day, but it’d be better if he was here,” Cole said.

According to Lofrano, the hiring committee on campus is aware of the athletic department’s desire to have at least one of their coaches hired as a full-time instructor.

Lofrano said the committee has, in the past, agreed to grant the department’s request, but never followed through with the decision.

“I’m not saying we don’t have support,” Lofrano said. “But we don’t have support in that area where coaches can be hired.”

According to the Los Angeles Valley College website, seven of their eight athletic coaches are also kinesiology instructors.

Lofrano said coaches also share some of the blame. In other schools, there are coaches who are hired and then stop coaching.

“That’s been a problem for years throughout any school district, throughout any school,” Lofrano said. “It’s a two-way street. You have to be honest about that.”