Steve Tamanaha spends hours most every Sunday paddling through ocean currents on an outrigger canoe. Just entering his third month as the latest Orange Coast College athletic director, he may be drifting into even more challenging seas.
"It's a very difficult time for athletics," said Tamanaha, who began July 16 as the replacement for Barbara Bond, who retired at the end of the 2009-10 school year.
State budget cuts and a continuing recession have already pared programs at the community college level. A 40% cut in counseling programs at OCC last spring, in fact, helped lead Tamanaha, a director of several counseling programs at the school since 2006, to his newest assignment.
In many ways, Tamanaha, a former high school athlete who has coached basketball at OCC, Golden West, Saddleback and Grossmont community colleges, is right where he wants to be.
"Because of the restructuring, there were several assignments that were offered to me," Tamanaha said. "But this is the one I wanted. I jumped at the chance and I was excited to do it."