By Jair Ramirez
A Riverside native was announced the new acting athletic director of Riverside City College, effective July 1.
Kaladon Stewart attended Riverside schools from elementary through college. He received an associate’s degree from RCC, a bachelor’s degree from Cal Baptist University, and a master’s degree in business administration from UC Riverside.
Stewart was also the co-founder and first elected president of the Association of California Community College Eligibility Specialists, which was created to provide fair certification for Community College student-athletes who compete annually.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve our RCC athletic department, our student athletes, our faculty coaches, our amazing supporting staff and just be part of the legacy and the history that’s so rich in tradition here at RCC,” Stewart said about being appointed acting athletic director of RCC. “It feels really good.”
Stewart began working at RCC in 2008 as an hourly assistant in the Admissions & Records Office.
He has worked in the Athletic Department for the past seven years and was named director of compliance in 2017. Stewart’s duties ranged from day-to-day department functions to long-term planning for athletics. He was also in charge of handling student-athlete eligibility and compliance for all 18 varsity sports on campus.
Stewart’s new duties include providing strategic leadership and directing internal operations for the college’s 18 intercollegiate sports. He will also be responsible for managing the department’s personnel, facilities, and day-to-day operations.
But as an athletic director during the COVID-19 pandemic, Stewart already faces a new challenge.
The California Community College Athletics Association announced a contingency plan for the 2020-21 academic year that moves all sports to the spring semester and reduces the maximum number of contests or competition dates currently permitted by 30%.
The plan, approved July 9, includes regional postseason competition but no state championships for the 2020-21 year.
Stewart aims to ensure fall athletes do not fall behind and retain eligibility for the sports season throughout the contingency plan.
“We want to make sure that our students are persistent through their classes,” Stewart said. “We all also want to make sure our student-athletes are matriculating. We want to ensure alternately that our student success is not hampered because of the fall season being postponed until the spring.”
Stewart explained that all of RCC’s sports teams already share the facilities throughout the whole year, so 18 teams sharing facilities in the spring should not prove itself especially difficult.
The acting athletic director also wants to implement “Coaches Corner” workshops that directly relate to the CCCAA constitution and bylaws.
The sessions will include various scenarios that assess the coaches’ level of knowledge when dealing with a current or prospective student-athlete.
Stewart was appointed to the position by an administrator, unlike interim athletic directors who go through several hiring committees and have to pass paper background checks. He replaces Jim Wooldridge who was athletic director since 2015.
As acting athletic director, Stewart will go through a three to six month trial period and will be taken into consideration for the permanent job along with other candidates.