During the upheaval that eventually brought a new name--Chapman University --and a new president--James L. Doti--to the school in Orange, the athletic department has remained clear of the cross-fire.
Stability has been a welcome change for the athletic department, which once--in a span of two days--had three men's basketball coaches.
In this era of athletic budget cuts, Chapman is taking cautious steps in the other direction. Two and a half years after eliminating six sports--men's and women's cross-country and track and field, women's tennis and men's volleyball--the school has brought back men's cross-country.
"A lot of schools are cutting back and going backward and we're hopefully . . . well, we are going the other way," Athletic Director Dave Currey said.
The revival of men's cross-country isn't the only reason Currey is upbeat. A new residence hall has been completed and ground has been broken for a student center, which will be named the Argyros Forum, after George Argyros, a Newport Beach developer and former owner of the Seattle Mariners who graduated from the school in 1959.
The new buildings, Currey said, will help make the campus more attractive to athletes considering the school as will using university in the school's name.
Furthermore, the baseball team is moving up from NCAA Division II to Division I in the spring and, Currey said, the school's new president is committed to maintaining Division II status in the other sports.
The Hutton Center, home to Panther volleyball and basketball, also has a new look. The Panther adorning one of the walls of the gymnasium has been replaced with a more forceful depiction.
"The one we had looked like an animal running away," Currey said. "Now, it's coming right at you."
Last spring, Currey started a one-year term as president of Chapman's conference, the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. Currey, who spent seven seasons as football coach at Cal State Long Beach battling for recognition for the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. (now the Big West), now finds himself in a similar situation on the Division II level.
"I've been impressed with the conference," Currey said. "The quality of athletes is better than most people think."
After Chapman defeated Occidental, 9-7, to win its first water polo game of the season, first-year Coach Jon Pendleton received some friendly, tongue-in-cheek advice.
"Actually, all the parents and everybody told me to quit while I was ahead," Pendleton said.
Last season, the Panthers occasionally had trouble finding enough players to field a team and won only four of their 29 games. But Pendleton, who played at University High School, UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara, where he was an assistant, has a roster of 14 players.
Four seniors--goalkeeper Eric Wetzell, Mike Reid, Tom Moran and Scott Law--are the team leaders, Pendleton said. Paul Ewin, a freshman from Tempe, Ariz., who had never played the game, had two assists in the Occidental game.
The Panthers will face another challenge today when they play the UC San Diego junior varsity and Redlands in the Pomona-Pitzer tournament. Pomona has a 30-meter pool, which is about 16 feet longer than the 25-yard Orange High School pool Chapman uses.
"It's tough to step up to that longer pool because everybody is just that much more tired," Pendleton said.
Eric Boyles, a professional beach volleyball player from Phoenix, has been hired as an assistant coach for the Southern California College women's volleyball team. Boyles, 28, is featured in Volleyball Magazine's September issue as one of five "Young Guns" on the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals tour.
College Division Notes
The Chapman women's volleyball team is ranked 13th in the most recent coaches' poll. . . . Greg Marshall, the men's basketball coach at Christ College Irvine, has added an assistant to his staff. Brent Hocking, a 1987 graduate of Biola, will join assistant Mike Moore on the Eagles' bench this season. . . . CCI sports information director Amanda Houlton has resigned as NAIA District 3 information director and taken a similar position with the Golden State Athletic Conference. . . . CCI softball Coach Jack Robinson has resigned to take the softball coach's job at Saddleback College. Christ College is accepting applications for the job.