Photo courtesy of Sandi Taylor
Bakersfield College announced that athletic director and longtime head softball coach, Sandi Taylor, will be officially retiring on June 25 after 30 years working at BC.
Taylor arrived at BC as a coach in 1990 and became the AD in 2013. Over the years she helped lead BC softball in four conference championships, won 500 games overall, and more.
“There is no one who took greater pride in the program, her student-athletes, or even the facilities than Coach Taylor,” said Bakersfield College’s President Sonya Christian in a statement. “The talk of the town those days… she would be out there taking care of the softball field with the same diligent care of students. Due to her hard work on the field over the years, BC is the softball destination across the state.”
Taylor answered some questions for the Renegade Rip:
Q: On June 25, you’re ending a 30-year career at Bakersfield College. What are some of your favorite memories and proudest accomplishments you achieved working as an athletic director and a head softball coach?
Taylor: The first one is the first Softball Conference Championship in 1997. That was the first one in BC Softball history. The other one was in 2005. I received a national award for the Coaching Staff of the year. And then in 2010, we opened the new softball stadium. That was [really] special. The athletic director position was a big one and all of the facility upgrades, obviously the turf and Memorial Stadium. The championships the team won and celebrating those games. Those games were always fun. That’s to name a few.
Q: What has been the most rewarding aspect of coaching for BC?
Taylor: The most rewarding thing is the success of my students. Both in the classroom and on the field. Whether I was the coach or the athletic director watching them succeed and the joy that they share when they are successful. That’s been the most rewarding part. Seeing them succeed and reach their goals whether it [be] transferring or getting a job. Watching them go on to live their dreams out. I had many come back and now are professionals in the community and different things so that’s been the greatest joy.
Q: How did you decide to get into coaching then transition to the Athletic Department?
Taylor: I have always wanted to be in athletics. When I was a young girl we didn’t have athletics yet, and then Title IX passed in 1972. We then had athletics during my sophomore year of high school. Then it kind of just grew from there. I just knew I wanted to be a P.E. teacher and a coach. So it was my life-long-goal to be a coach. I never really thought about moving into admissions but that seemed like a natural fit as well. So in 2013 it just felt like it was the right thing to do. To move into an [interim position] and then I was fortunate enough to land the permit jig in December of 2014.
Q: What are you going to miss the most about BC?
Taylor: The people and the relationships that I built both across campus and in the department and day-to-day interactions. Watching the students work so hard and the buzz around the department when practices and workouts are going. That day-to-day thing, but it’s all about the people, the friends, and the relationships that I had over the last 30 years and all the students that went by and came in every year.
Q: What sports have gone through the biggest transformation during your tenure at BC?
Taylor: I think the biggest thing is growth with adding men’s soccer and beach volleyball. The other sports are well established. Everybody has their ups and downs, good years, and bad years, it’s an evident flow for a two-year community college level. But the growth of beach volleyball and men’s soccer [to be] added to the department is a big thing to have new sports.
Q: Why the decision to retire now? What is next for you? Is there anything you’re looking forward to?
Taylor: I had a long career. I’ve been blessed to have coached for years at a high school before I came to Bakersfield College. I have 31 years of coaching and 37 years of full-time. I started work really young. At 23, I started a full-time job and I just decided that I would retire a little bit and enjoy some relaxation. I feel like I’ve just been running 100 mile-per-hour since I started working full-time and felt like it was the right time.
Q: What are some of the fondest memories you will take from your years working at BC? What comes to mind first?
Taylor: The first time that pops into my head is when we opened the softball complex in 2010. That was first and foremost my most fond memory.
Q: What was the softball stadium like when you first started at BC in 1990?
Taylor: There was no fence. There were no bullpens for the pitches to warm up. There was a little set of bleachers, a backstop, chain length fence, dugouts and that was it with the lights and a scoreboard. The scoreboard was donated by Pesi way-back-when before I got there. The lights I believe were put in by the city so they can use the field for their city leagues back when they built the field in 1980. That was all that was out there and then overtime a batting cage and a little storage building. All temporary stuff but there’s nothing left, except the lights. Everything we have [now] is new.
Q: Is there anything else you like to share?
Taylor: I am appreciative of Dr. Christian, the admission and the Kern of Community College Board of Trustees that gave me the opportunities to be a coach and Athletic Director. I couldn’t have done any of it without their help and support. So I like to give them a little shout out and appreciation because it’s been a long 30 years, and I’m very blessed [to have been] given the opportunity by them.