Add Alt Text Here

Memories of SSU

Martha M. Yates

Professor of Kinesiology, 1968-2000
Chair, Department of Kinesiology, 1992-2000

Professor Emeritus Martha Yates on bagpipes at commencement 2010. She and Professor Emeritus Duncan MacInnes regularly lead the commencement ceremonies on their bagpipes.

Professor Emeritus Martha Yates on bagpipes at commencement 2010. She and Professor Emeritus Duncan MacInnes regularly lead the commencement ceremonies on their bagpipes.

The Vision

            In the beginning Sonoma State “got it right”; their priorities were in order. After all, the first building on the old Benson Ranch was the Field House.

            Dr. G. Edward Rudloff was hired as the first chair of the Department of Health Sciences and Physical Education to form a department and develop a curriculum that included:

  • A Physical Education major
  • Physical education activity and health courses
  • Athletics
  • A dance program.

            The departmental faculty would have advanced degrees in specialized areas and have coaching or dance experience. To promote collaborative teaching and research, two faculty members would be hired in each of the academic areas. All would teach major courses, activity courses, and coach.

The Early Years

            Classes were taught in classrooms all over campus. Faculty offices, activity classes and athletics were centered in the Field House while plans were being finalized for a classroom/gymnasium complex.

            Initially, the Department had a full-time faculty of three: Dr. Ed Rudloff, Chair, Athletic Director, Cultural Bases of Movement; Dr. Joel Grose, Motor Development, Baseball; Ms. Sandra Dunwoody, Dance

            Between 1966 and 1968 faculty and staff were added to the Department: Dr. Ella Trussell, Biomechanist, Volleyball, Field Hockey, Basketball, Softball; Dr. Bob Sorani, Anatomical Kinesiologist, Track and Field, Cross Country; Mrs. Yvonne Auda, Department Secretary; Mrs. Cheryl Brown, Equipment Technician; Mr. Felix Duarte, Equipment Technician; Mrs. Marlene Bles, Department Secretary, Athletic Secretary, Athletic Administrative Assistant (35 year career)

            By 1968, Joel Grose had left, and dance had moved into Theater Arts.. Three new faculty members were hired: Dr. Ken Flynn, Pedagogy, Wrestling; Dr. Martha Yates, Exercise Physiology, Women’s Tennis and Basketball; Dr. Carl Peterson, Motor Development and Baseball..

             In 1969 the faculty increased by three: Dr. Jim Gale, Exercise Physiology, Men’s Tennis; Dr. Doug Earl, Sport Sociology, Men’s Basketball; Dr. Bob Lynde, History and Philosophy of Sport, Track. As the department grew, additional faculty were hired:  Dr. Kathy Klein (1971), Motor Learning, Softball; Ms. Marcia Hart (1972) Pedagogy, Field Hockey and Women’s Basketball; Ms Vivian Fritz (1972), Pedagogy, Women’s Gymnastics and Volleyball; Mr. Bob Donlan (1973), Intramurals and Men’s Basketball.

            The physical education major curriculum was unique in the CSU system, focusing on a foundation in the sciences and humanities rather than skill acquisition and teaching methodology.  The driving forces for this unique major curriculum was the Fisher Act of 1961which required university curricula for prospective teachers to focus on subject matter rather than methodology. An undergraduate was required to have an “academic” major or minor and a post baccalaureate year of education. Educational administrators were required to have an “academic” major. The SSC Physical Education major curriculum was submitted for approval as an “academic” major, and, at the time, it was the only physical education program in the CSU granted academic status.

            However, faculty concern about the dearth of teaching methodology courses in the major led to the development of a series of Analysis of Motor Skills courses which included the biomechanical bases and the teaching methodology for a variety of sport skills. These courses have endured through many curricular changes and CTC reviews. In the early 1970s a Master of Arts (MA) degree was added to the curriculum.

            In addition to a full-time teaching load, each faculty member coached in the fledgling athletic program. Athletic teams were listed as scheduled courses, but coaching responsibilities received minimal WTUs. Thus, faculty taught full academic loads, then spent three to eight hours daily with coaching responsibilities.

            Funding, staffing and finding athletes were challenging at the new, small liberal arts, “hippie” institution. There was no on-campus housing; most athletes were commuters who were older and less experienced than those of the competing institutions. Many athletes, especially women, were multi-sport participants.

            By 1968 the men’s athletic program was participating in the Far Western Conference (FWC), a non-scholarship. conference. The operating budget was $7,500 for seven sports (cross country, basketball, wrestling, golf, baseball, tennis and track and field). The women’s athletic program still was an extramural program, but coaches were involved in the organization of the Northern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NCIAC). A budget of $1,500 supported six women’s sports (field hockey, volleyball, basketball, softball, tennis and track and field). Athletics were funded by the ASB and the departmental operating budget.

            In 1969 football became an intercollegiate program as required by FWC. During its short tenure, the team was coached by Lloyd Helgeson ,  Carl Peterson, and Dave Gibbs. Football was discontinued in 1972 due to lack of campus funding. This was not well received by the FWC, and SSC’s status in the conference was rather tenuous.

            In 1971 Ed Rudloff  left for the Chancellor’s office, and Doug Earl became Chair. Bill Trumbo was hired as men’s Basketball  and Athletic Director. In 1972, the first “last” year of the football program, the men’s athletic program had a budget of $32,000 for eight sports ($14,300 for football). Under Bill Trumbo, the men’s basketball teams of ‘72-‘73 and ‘73-‘74 won the FWC championships.

            In 1972 Martha Yates became the Director of Women’s Athletics. Nationally, the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) was born in 1971, and Title IX became law in 1972. The SSC women’s teams participated in the NCIAC and received $3,500 for six sports. In this conference, SSC competed against Stanford, SJSC, UC Berkeley, UOP, Mills College, Dominican College and other CSU institutions.

            ASB funding for athletics was sporadic and minimal. Department meetings devoted an extraordinary amount of time in dealing with the budgetary issues facing athletics and in the allocation of funds between athletics and the academic program. Since tenure-track faculty coached the teams, salaries were not one of the financial problems to be faced. However, insurance costs for the programs rose, driven by football and gymnastics.  Fundraisers were held to supplement the budget. The Golden Gaters and World Team Tennis matches, Roller Derby, donkey basketball and the Harlem Globetrotters came to campus. For several semesters the departmental faculty team-taught extension courses with the salaries supplementing athletic budgets.

            The construction of the new gymnasium in the early 1970s provided a “windfall” equipment budget for the new facility. The major hurdle was dealing with the state purchasing restrictions, and from necessity “creative” purchasing techniques were devised to secure state of the art equipment.

The Transitional Years

            The original faculty members served as full-time faculty members and coaches for the next fifteen years. Part-time instructors and graduate students taught activity courses and coached some of the athletic teams. In the mid 1970s, when the ASB disbanded, the funding they provided for athletics was lost. The departmental faculty, President McGrath and President Designate Wagner decided to withdraw from the FWC and move to a Men’s extramural program. The women continued to compete in the NCIAC. Bill Trumbo left SSC, and Bob Sorani  became Chair and Men’s AD. The demise of the men’s athletic program had repercussions over the entire campus for many faculty had supported the program and contributed their time and services. The Chair of Faculty, Yvette Fallandy, an ardent supporter, searched in vain for resources to reinstate the program. A proposal to rejoin the FWC in 1975 was withdrawn.          

            The women’s conference, NCIAC, was restructured. In 1976 the larger schools (e.g., Cal, Stanford, SJSU) moved into a new scholarship conference. The Golden State Conference (GSC) was formed from the remaining schools. The other member institutions were not enthusiastic about Sonoma State’s membership in the GSC. Throughout this process Dr. Cheryl Peterson, faculty representative (Political Science), and Women’s AD, Martha Yates were actively involved in the formation of the conference. SSU was accepted as a charter member. By 1978 the NCAA began offering championships for women, and the AIAW was “out of business”.

            In 1977 Ken Flynn was appointed interim Men’s AD of the extramural program. During the next year, President Peter Diamandopoulos and the faculty began to investigate rejoining the FWC. Dick Walker was hired as men’s basketball coach, and, in 1980, he became AD. Milt Cerf, an insurance broker, approached the President about offering a “club” football program funded entirely by Mr. Cerf. The President accepted. The program was in violation of NCAA, FWC and campus rules, and the department was sharply divided over the program. It was a short-lived program, disbanding when Mr. Cerf’s son graduated.

            In 1981 the men’s athletic program applied for readmission to the FWC, and Ralph Barkey was hired as Men’s AD.. He was given (by the President) control of both Men’s and Women’s Athletics. Athletics became a separate department, and the AD reported directly to the President. In spite of protests, the women’s AD became the assistant AD. Barkey brought in coaches and assigned them to teach physical education courses, regardless of their qualifications. Ten physical education tenured faculty positions were split between Athletics and Physical Education. Athletics was no longer an extension of the academic program. Martha Yates resigned as Assistant AD. No woman was involved in athletic administration for the next 15 years.

            While some coaches with no background in physical education were given teaching assignments, tenured faculty were threatened with layoffs. Some senior faculty accepted teaching assignments in other departments. Marcia Hart, a tenured faculty member and the men’s tennis coach, was laid-off in 1982, and part-time coaches were hired to cover her load. She filed and won a grievance and was reinstated in 1983..

            During the years that Physical Education and Athletics existed as one department, there had been hard times, financial struggles and uncertainty. These were always outweighed by the success of the program and the student-athletes. The faculty realized the dimension that athletics added to an individual’s life. The rewards of the program included conference championships, qualifying for regional and national competition, the setting of conference and regional records, All-American honors for athletes, team camaraderie and the growth, commitment, and appreciation of the individual athletes. The good far out-weighed the hardships and challenges.

The 1990s

            Athletics was a separate department and competed in the Northern California Athletic Conference (NCAC). The main issues between Kinesiology and Athletics revolved around the use of facilities and teaching assignments given to some unqualified and unmotivated coaches.

            Coaching positions moved out of the general fund, and Athletics had to fund coaches’ salaries, scholarships and program expenses. Annually, the athletic program competed with other campus programs for money from the IRA account. Several sports were cancelled because of financial shortfalls.

            During the early 1990s, football had its third iteration at SSU, participating in the NCAC.. In 1994 SSU Athletics began to move into the California Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC), a scholarship conference that did not include football. After assurances to the contrary, President Arminana cancelled the sport. During this time, Cal NOW filed suit against the CSU for discrimination against women student-athletes. The consent decree issued by the court gave all CSU campuses five years to come into compliance:..

            Ralph Barkey retired in 1998, and Bill Fusco was hired as Athletic Director.

            Due to loss of physical education department positions, no new tenure-track faculty were hired until 1990. Funding for positions moved to a dollar-based budget, and in the mid 1990s the department was able to fund positions for athletic training and adapted physical education, two tracks within the major.

            At both the national and state level, the major had expanded to include pre-physical therapy, adapted physical education , sports medicine, sport management, and lifespan fitness. By the mid 1990s, the department was renamed Kinesiology and the degree changed from a BA in Physical Education to a BS in Kinesiology. The department received a positive program review from an outside reviewer, and the Physical Education track was one of the first in the state to meet the prescribed standards and be approved by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC).

            After 2000, many of the original faculty were retiring, and they had been replaced by the next generation. Over the course of thirty years, many of the original faculty had served as department chair: Ed Rudloff, Doug Earl, Ella Trussell, Bob Sorani, Jim Gale and Martha Yates. It had been a good run for a group of young faculty who spent 25-30 years teaching, coaching and growing up together.