Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Breaking: PCCD appoints former San Leandro police chief to Interim Executive Director of Public Safety
Breaking: PCCD appoints former San Leandro police chief to Interim Executive Director of Public Safety
Abdul Pridgen will lead the district’s community-based safety program
Li Khan, Editor in Chief • June 21, 2024
Carpentry instructor spruces up department
Carpentry instructor spruces up department
Rym-Maya Kherbache, Staff Writer • April 24, 2024
A cap at the Laney College commencement ceremony on May 24 reads in Spanish, This is for my mom who gave me everything. (Photo: Marcus Creel/PCCD)
Graduations, resignations and more: PCCD Trustees wrap up school year at 5/28 meeting
Romi Bales, Staff Writer • June 17, 2024
Student Trustee Natasha Masand believes her voice has the power to impact the PCCD community.
Student Trustee Natasha Masand finds her voice
Isabelly Sabô Barbosa, Social Media Editor • March 19, 2024

    Searching for the right leader

    The long journey to find a new Laney women’s volleyball coach

    The Laney College women’s volleyball team won only one game in 2016. Then, last January, the head coach quit. John Beam, Laney athletic director, wasn’t prepared for the news. “It wasn’t ideal. The [volleyball] coach didn’t tell me she wasn’t coming back until the beginning of spring,” he said.

    Would Beam be able to find a coach before the fall season began? If not the department would be forced to cancel the season. But Beam — a former Skyline High football coach with a career record 160–30–4 and 11 Silver Bowl titles — pushed to keep the season alive. “We are doing everything we can to be in compliance with Title IX,” Beam said.

    Title IX requires that both sexes receive equality education and activities from institutions that receive Federal funds.

    “It’s hard finding coaches with the experience level that you need.” Beam said about his search for a new coach. “You have to talk to everybody, Let all the AD’s [Athletic Directors] know you’re looking.”

    Beam put up fliers and called people he knew in the volleyball club circuit. He also tapped local high school coaches and he even reached out to the players. “You talk to the girls on the teams and ask them what their coach is doing.” he said.

    As the summer wound down, Laney Athletic Director John Beam was still on the grind.

    After a 32–year career as an athletic director, Beam understood the difficult odds of finding a coach.

    “If you go right now and put a thing that says your looking for a volleyball coach and pay him $3,400 as a stipend and you got to be there by 2 p.m. for practice,” he said. A two-bedroom apartment in Oakland cost $3,000 per month. “How many people do you think your going to find?”


    Meanwhile, every week in the main gym, Carlos Ferrer, the Laney men’s P.E. attendant, volunteered his time to help a volleyball player who wanted to improve her ball setting technique.

    On occasion, Beam spotted Ferrer helping players in the gym.

    The players knew about Ferrer’s women’s volleyball coaching background. He had once helped coach a high school player, Savanah Leaf, who eventually played for England in the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

    But as the months went by and the spring rains dried up, the volleyball coach’s chair was still empty. A few concerned volleyball teammates took it upon themselves to approach Ferrer and nudg him to apply for the position.

    Ferrer, a former head coach of the Encinal High girls volleyball team, hesitated.

    The last time Ferrer coached a team of volleyball players was 10 years ago. The traveling around the state and finally to Utah for the junior nationals had burnt him out.

    He didn’t apply for the position.

    But summer was about to begin and the scheduled girls volleyball high school summer camp needed a coach. The athletic department created the high school summer camp to tutor Laney’s future players, because participation in women’s sports was entering a critical state.

    “In the Bay Valley Conference, women’s sports have been declining in the past five years,” Beam said. “Last year the College of Alameda couldn’t fill a volleyball team, and the year before that Merritt College couldn’t fill a basketball team.”

    But Beam said, it’s not an isolated problem. “Every one of our colleges are all struggling to fill women’s sports,” he said.

    Then Beam approached Ferrer in his caged office, nestled in the men’s gym equipment room.

    A collage of high school girls volleyball pictures — from his Golden Bear Volleyball Club coaching days — dangled from a corkboard behind Ferrer’s shoulder-length ponytail.

    They discussed the women’s volleyball program. Ferrer agreed to step up and help coach the summer camp.

    As the summer wound down and the autumn leaves turned yellow, Beam was still on the grind, searching for another coach to help complete the volleyball coaching staff.

    Then in September, Daniel Gee — a former Mills College coach, according to Beam — joined the volleyball coaching staff.

    And that’s when the women’s volleyball season coughed and started breathing again.

    The revived team went 0–15 this year, but is looking forward to an outing unmarred by strife and confusion next season.

    —Tower Contributor Kironyo

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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