Valley College Athletic Director Says Goodbye After Forty Years Of Dedication To The Monarchs
Valley's Athletic Director Diedra Stark has announced that she will retire after this semester
Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 15:05
For most, retirement marks a much-anticipated closure in one’s career. It is a transcendent moment that many spend their entire lives laboring to achieve. Though full of excitement, for Valley College Athletic Director Diedra Stark and her 40 years of dedication to the Monarch community, retirement is also met with concern.
“I think that’s my biggest worry,” Stark said about potential budget cuts the Valley athletic department might face. “I do not want to see any opportunities for our student-athletes get cut. It is so important to our kids.”
Prior to her first stint as athletic director in 1980, Stark held head coaching positions for the women’s basketball and volleyball teams. In addition to her many achievements as coach, Stark led the 1976 women’s vol leyball team to a state championship.
“She started in 1972, and I was hired in 1976, [and] we served as faculty together,” Valley President Sue Carleo said. “These last few years it has been an honor to have her serve in the capacity of Valley’s athletic director, and I have greatly enjoyed working with her.”
Stark’s incredibly positive reputation amongst colleagues and unmatched understanding of the student-athlete comes as no surprise: she began her career in sports at Valley as a student-athlete. The two-time athletic director attended Valley from 1968 to 1969. During her early education as a Monarch, Stark obtained her associate’s degree and won a state championship with the women’s basketball team before earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Cal State University Long Beach.
Collectively, Stark has spent 40 years dedicating her timeto the Valley athletics program. She has not only held the positions of head coach and athletic director but has also spent time as an instructor of physical education.
“Her stewardship has closely followed the mission of athletics,” Valley Sports Information Director Dale Beck said. “Because of her ability to communicate in a warm and positive way, others have followed suit, thus strengthening the athletic team. That type of leadership has been appreciated and will be missed.”
Bittersweet is the only word that can define Stark’s departure: the anticipation and excitement of becoming a grandmother this fall has overwhelmed her with excitement, but her farewell to Valley will inevitably leave her saddened.
“I am excited for a new chapter in my life; I am going to be a grandmother,” Stark said. “I am sad because I have been here for 40 years … I am going to miss my friends and colleagues, and I love the students.”
According to Stark, Carleo will announce the new athletic director sometime this week, and though her title will be passed on to another, her interest and mission for Valley athletics will live on.
“It is an important stepping stone for students who come here,” said Stark. “They have a dream and want to go to a university. “If we shut those doors, it will hurt our kids … my heart will always be here.”