By Justin Alsman
By Justin Alsman
Calling it his “golden handshake,” Bob Schermerhorn has no regrets about his opportunity to venture into the next part of his life, whatever that may be. As he explains it, his years here were never supposed to last this long.
“This is the longest job I’ve ever had,” says ‘Horn,’ a nickname given to him long ago. “I never saw this as my last job, just something to do until the next thing came along.”
He first came here from Arizona State, to coach the Tigers’ basketball team for nine “highly successful” years. Then came a time when he wanted to slow down and take care of his health.
Due to the stressful nature of the business, he took sometime to “recharge [his] batteries” and for the next few years did nothing but teach classes. After the years went by the position of Athletic Director opened up, and he felt it was time for the next challenge in his life.
So in 1999, he took over as A.D. He had a goal of making it to age 63 but really didn’t know how long he would be here. To be successful at this job he quickly realized that he needed to change his attitude about things.
“When I first got in this job I was still in coach mode…yelling at everything,” Horn said.
He fondly remembers what his friend Nate D. Francisco, a consultant who has been at the college over 50 years, told him “You’re not a coach anymore… You have to look at things differently.”
Whether it was to last or not, Horn had work he wanted to get done. His main priority when he took over was to refurbish the “tired” facilities that all the athletes were using. With the gymnasium built in 1928 and most of the other sporting facilities built not long after that, there was so much to be done. However, he could only do so much with the financial restraints he had to deal with.
He fought for money where he could and pushed for initiatives like Measure C. He went in and completely refurbished the fitness center and was able get a football practice field put in with a fence. And now with Measure C passed, he has been able to get the college board to pass the remodeling of the football stadium and a brand new track and field to be put in, along with the tennis courts that are planned to go on the new parking structure.
“I’m pleased that in my tenure we got some things off the ground,” Horn said. He only hopes that his successor will continue on the same path.
With the support of President Rotella and Dr. Linda Lacey, Vice President of Student Services, Horn was able to accomplish his goal of updating RCC’s sports program. He also takes pride in the fact that he faced the Title IX problem head on, by making the college’s resources readily available to men and women athletes, which had been heavily in favor of men’s teams before his tenure.
In his time he has also made three hires to head coaching positions at the college, all of which went toward leveling the equality of the coaching staff.
But now at the age of 61, two years shy of his original goal, he is nothing if not optimistic about the future. Past another semester of consulting his successor, he doesn’t have any plans set. However, his already energetic eyes light up even more at the prospect of going back to coaching.
Already in the Hall of Fame for his coaching days at Arizona, he revels in the prospect of being an assistant to a younger coach and being able to dispense his wisdom to someone new.
But for now that is just conversation, nothing set in stone. He has plenty of time to think of that later. He has problems to solve now for this job. Such as where are the teams for the upcoming basketball tournament are going to park now that one of his projects (football field remodeling) is taking the parking lot.
“Five years ago I would have gone down there screaming, but now I’ll go have a talk with someone and things will get done. It all works out.”
So after 19 years of service to this college winds down, his short-term job has become the biggest stop of his career, but by no means is it the last.