VOL. 12, NO. 66

California State University, Long Beach February 1, 2006

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. News  

Prospect • USC’s Steve Lopes made his rounds on campus Tuesday where he was being interviewed for the athletic director position. Tracey Roman / Online Forty-Niner

Second athletic director candidate interviewed

By Kyle Cavaness

Online Forty-Niner
Assistant Sports Editor

Steve Lopes, the second of three candidates for Cal State Long Beach athletic director, was interviewed by the Committee on Athletics Tuesday.

Lopes is currently the senior associate athletic director at USC, where he is in charge of the financial affairs of the athletic department. He also oversees several sports, including being involved in the day-to-day management of the men’s football and basketball programs. Lopes would fill the position currently held by interim director Cindy Masner.

“ The people I’ve [met at CSULB] have been truly impressive,” Lopes said about his visit.

Lopes has over two decades of experience in college athletics, as an administrator and a player. He lettered all four years (1980-83) in football at Oregon’s Linfield College, also lettering in wrestling and golf. Lopes graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business and communication from Linfield in 1984, after which he began his career at USC, starting the same year as an assistant strength coach.

Lopes continued his education at USC while rising through the ranks of the athletic department. He received two master’s degree from the school, in athletic administration and business management, as well as a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Pennsylvania last May.

“ I feel that I am qualified, ready, willing and able to become [CSULB’s athletic director],” Lopes said.

The committee, made up of faculty, staff and administration, discussed what Lopes would do to ensure student athletes would keep up academically and be an active part of the student body.

“ Student athletes...carry our banner,” said Brenda Vogel, professor of criminal justice and committee chairwoman. “They represent us — they are us [at sporting events].”

Lopes told the committee about various policies used at USC to make sure athletes attend classes and tutoring sessions, including a form of attendance police” that spot checks classes in which athletes are enrolled to make sure they were in class when they were supposed to be. In his position at USC, Lopes delegates the coaches to be the primary enforcers of the attendance policy.

“ As much as possible, it is important to keep athletes integrated in the student body...and not secluded with their teammates,” Lopes said.

Lopes considers athletics to be another aspect of the college learning environment, a philosophy he hopes to bring to CSULB. He holds barbecues for athletes at the beginning of the season and makes sure to acknowledge the players when he attends games.

“ It’s a matter of taking it personally,” said Lopes. “They know, first and foremost, that I’m there and I care.”

The committee also discussed other aspects of the athletic director’s position, including how to get the student body more involved in on-campus athletics and improve game attendance.

“ Athletics is part of the student life and the institution,” said Lopes . “[We would] get out of the athletic facility to bring visibility...if the students don’t come to [games], we’ll come to them.”

Lopes, his wife and their two children live in Palos Verdes Estates, and his interest in the athletic director position also comes from wanting to stay in Southern California.

“ One of the reasons I am looking at this position is so I could keep my family in the same place,” Lopes said. “I love where I live.”



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