Legarza named athletic director at Foothill

Foothill College last week named Mike Legarza its new athletic director and dean of the Physical Education Division, replacing the retired Sue Gatlin.

“Mike brings more than 20 years of experience in athletics education and entrepreneurship to Foothill College,” said Judy Miner, president of the Los Altos Hills community college. “He sold his most recent athletics business venture to Nike Inc., and desired to return to education. His first choice was Foothill College, and we are thrilled to welcome someone with such broad and deep understanding of collegiate athletics and physical education curriculum.”

In addition to managing enrollment, budget, personnel and facilities for the division, Legarza will oversee Foothill’s 13 intercollegiate teams, as well as the college’s Dance Department. Foothill women’s teams include basketball, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, volleyball and water polo. The men’s teams include basketball, football, golf, soccer, swimming and tennis.

Legarza will also administer the more than 200 activity, lecture and lab course sections offered by the Foothill Physical Education Division each 12-week quarter.

“From my first moment on the Foothill campus, I’ve felt good being here,” said Legarza, a San Francisco resident. “The campus is one of the most beautiful community college settings I have seen. Foothill College leaders have hired quality professionals and team players with high integrity. Perhaps most importantly, they’ve built a welcoming environment where students, faculty and staff enjoy teaching and learning. Our P.E. Department, much like the rest of the campus, is an energetic, productive place to be.”

Student success and a students-first philosophy top Legarza’s agenda as the new division dean.

“Newly retired division dean and athletic director Sue Gatlin did a great job of promoting student success with Foothill student-athletes,” Legarza said. “Foothill has an outstanding record for student-athlete graduation and university transfer. … For me, it’s important to continue Foothill’s legacy of placing human beings above the sport. We do what’s best for them academically first and athletically second.”

Legarza served as athletic director, physical education instructor and men’s basketball coach at Cañada College in Redwood City from 1989-2000. He was named California Community College Coach of the Year in 1998. He left the program with a 259-59 record, and 59 of 60 student-athletes graduated. From 2000-2002, Legarza worked as the national director of the Positive Coaching Alliance in partnership with Stanford University. Coach-training programs nationwide continue to use the training and pedagogy Legarza developed.

He most recently was the founder and president of Legarza Basketball Camps, the largest youth basketball camp system in the United States, serving more than 80,000 boys and girls. He sold the business to Nike earlier this year.

Legarza holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education from the University of Nevada and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of San Diego, where he also served as an athletic counselor and assistant men’s basketball coach. Before attending Nevada, Legarza played basketball at Menlo College, then a two-year school. He was named a Community College All-American for the 1979-1980 season, when he led the nation in free-throw shooting (91 percent).

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