The wide world of (Pierce) sports

Kiyomi Kikuchi

From far above the football field, you can see runners huffing and puffing along the Pierce College cross country trail. However, they are not Pierce students; they are from nearby high schools.

Pierce has great cross country courses on which runners have set impressive records even though Pierce’s cross country team no longer exists.

Similarly, the wrestling room in the South Gym, where Greco-Roman-style athletes once practiced, is now used for classes offered by Pierce Extension.

Many other sports teams that no longer exist, not just cross country and wrestling, also have set fantastic records and memories by its players.

Why are they no longer here?

In 1947, Pierce College opened with 67 male students and 11 instructors. Naturally, the first sports were baseball and football. If you’re interested in all things sports, you should try sports betting on sites like 토토사이트
At that time, the school was for men only.

In 1950, the school opened to women; a few years later, the Women’s Athletic Association (WAA) was created in order to improve women’s sports and rights. Women’s volleyball, softball, basketball and tennis teams were created soon afterward.

Sadly, from 1947 until 1955, Pierce had more sports teams than it has now

The apex for athletics at Pierce was around 1970 when there were more than 30 athletic teams and clubs. Even unconventional sports like bowling were represented. After 1972, the number of groups declined.

One of the reasons was the federal ruling on Title IX, which restricted sex discrimination in education. This title made it mandatory to create a fair number of opportunities between men and women in colleges in every field, but mostly sports.

Norma Cantu, head of the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights said, “Title IX does not require the elimination of teams, but rather requires equal opportunity.” The situation of sports teams and clubs did not immediately change, but the administration of the time was reluctant to add new sports teams.

Another dent to Pierce’s sports franchise occurred when Proposition 13, the “People’s Initiative to Limit Property Taxation,” was passed by California voters in June 1978.

The local fund from property taxes went immediately to the school system before this proposition was enacted. However, the fund was distributed to schools equally after that. The proposition damaged every team and club financially. According to the Sept. 21, 1978, issue of The Roundup, the district cut the college’s sports budget from $1.5 million to $750,000, but maintaining Pierce’s athletic teams would have required $980,000.

To save money, sports teams were cut back.

In an effort to prevent cutting sports teams, the Pierce athletics office cut coaches’ salaries by 20 percent. Bob Lyons, a baseball coach at that time and athletic director from 1996 to 2007, said, “It was badly cut.”

Lyons explained that Pierce’s baseball team used to get to away games by bus, but after the cuts, they had to get to games on their own. The players used their equipment until it was in very bad shape.

Since then, none of the athletic teams have hired a full time coach. Lyons added that after coaches from unpopular sports retired, teams like badminton or wrestling gradually faded away.

Mary Cox, an ex-badminton player and Physical Education instructor at Pierce, said that the badminton team stopped practicing in 1983 because it was “unpopular.” She said that the sport was discontinued at all community colleges around this time.

Political instability was the final nail in the coffin for the decline of sports teams. Lyons continued to say that with presidents changing at an average of once every two years this caused many policies to change regarding sports, but none of the administrators stayed long enough to implement the changes, resulting in loose ends and unfinished work.

Popular teams survived through the ’80s, but another crisis happened in 1997 when the student enrollment numbers decreased and administration tried to eliminate all athletic programs.

According to a Roundup issue from Oct. 28, 1997, Lyons, AD at the time, brought a large number of Pierce athletes to a budget meeting where each athlete held up a paper with the number of units they were taking that semester. Lyons said that the athletics program had maintained the enrollment of more than 200 athletes that year and that if the school cut sports, these athletes would have to leave. Finally, then-Pierce President E. Bing Inocencio was aware of the what kind of impact this would have on the community and realized sports were important for public service which prevented the death of Pierce’s athletics programs.

Now, there are 11 athletic teams at Pierce College.

After Lyons resigned as athletic director, then-baseball coach Bob Lofrano took up the position.

“It is not impossible to have a new sports team if you have the budget and coaches,” said Lofrano. Maintaining a team costs $35,000 to $45,000 a year. Without support from the school, it is very difficult to create a new team.

Nobunari Yamashita, a current student, started a badminton club this semester. He responded to students who wanted to play badminton in addition to attending classes. There had been a lot of talk about a badminton club for a long time, but Yamashita took action. He hopes that others share his enjoyment of badminton.

Now, as student enrollment numbers reach highs at more than 21,000 enrolled, Pierce has enough money in the budget for a new sport.

What will the next team be?

In the near future, you may see cross-country rise from the ashes and leave their footprints on our legendary courses. The possibility of a men’s soccer team dominating “The Pit” is something that can be envisioned in the near future as well.

Maybe one day soon all these teams, and many more, will have their turn to shine again with new uniforms and rejuvenated spirits.

Former Athletic Director Bob Lyons addresses the board as many of his athletes hold up placards showing how many units they are taking in an effort to save athletic programs in this Oct. 28, 1997 issue of The Roundup. (Edna Simpson)

(L-R) Mary Cox, badminton coach Lindy Hadlex and Carol Morstad smile after the Southern California Junior College tournament in 1968 in front of the North Gym. Cox and Morstad took first place honors in the class “A” doubles competition in the SCJC tournament. (Courtesy Mary Cox)

Bob Lyons, a business professor at Pierce since 1964, recently resigned as athletic director after serving since 1996. He coached baseball in the 1970s. ()