New Athletic Director Reggie Ellis sees bright future for SMC sports
As the scoreboard clock ticked down, the men's soccer team scored the game winning goal. A delighted Reggie Ellis smiles wide, proud of yet another Santa Monica College team win. He casually walked up to the victorious team to congratulate them. No matter the sport, Reggie Ellis could be found at nearly every Santa Monica College sports event.
As the 2015 Fall semester begins, SMC has recently appointed a new Athletic Director this year, Reggie Ellis. The former Athletic Director/Title IX Coordinator at Barstow College and the Interim Athletic Director at El Camino College, Ellis was born and raised in Los Angeles. He has always been surrounded by a big fan base of sports. Growing up, Ellis was a huge fan of basketball because of its growing popularity and has helped pave the path for where he is today.
“I like every California team but my favorite team would have to be the Los Angeles Lakers,” Ellis said. “I grew up watching the Lakers prior to and during the Showtime era, when the game was fun.”
Not only did Ellis enjoy watching basketball, but he equally enjoyed playing ball himself. Playing both recreationally and competitively, Ellis understood how to have fun but also how to work together to win. As he grew older and started to face bigger challenges the principles of teamwork helped him moving forward..
His love of Basketball made him love sports in general. It made it easy for him to choose to pursue a career involving sports.
Ellis started his career in coaching and athletics while in the Air Force. He coached the men's and women's basketball team for one year. That one year of experience gave him insight on how make a team play together efficiently as well as focusing on improving over time. Not only would did Ellis use his knowledge of sports at work, but he learned how to apply it in his daily life.
“You have to be understanding of the differences in the way people learn and comprehend what you are communicating,” said Ellis.
Ellis’ coaching career did not end after his stint with the Air Force, from there he found several other opportunities to coach.
“Coaching seemed like it was the right thing for me to be doing”, Ellis said. “I have coached basketball at the community college level for twelve years and I was an assistant basketball coach at Claremont College for one year while I also coached high school basketball for three years.”
As his coaching experience matured, Ellis saw the opportunity for himself to be able to create a bigger impact. Coaching different levels of basketball helped him understand the different age groups and how to work with a range of people.
Coaching was something that Ellis was good at; however, he knew that he wanted to be involved in athletic administration. He wanted to have the power to make positive changes toward the program as a whole not just as a coach. When the opportunity came he was quick to move forward. With all this coaching experience it seemed right for Ellis to be chosen as the Athletic Director.
“I wanted an opportunity to continue my work in athletic administration at a college that was known for academic success as well as athletic success,” Ellis said. "It was very easy for me to join SMC and I am glad I did.”
As Athletic Director, Ellis has many duties that he must complete on a daily basis. Most of his daily activities, deal with student athlete eligibility, compliance and providing support to the student-athletes and coaches. It is very important to him to keep up with his duties in order to keep everything running smoothly. Ellis understands that student-athletes must excel in their education prior to being able to focus on excelling in their sport. Going to most athletic events, Ellis is always checking up on each of the teams ensuring that issues could be addressed immediately.
With being anointed the title of Athletic Director, Ellis many goals he intended of setting for the program. From just building more programs, to having more and better training programs, Ellis wanted to turn the athletic program around. He want to get more students involved in supporting our athletic programs. The increased support would help create a more lively, spirited community at Santa Monica College and will offer a confidence boost for the players that put on the Corsair uniform.
“My goals coming in was to establish SMC athletics as the top athletic program in the state and to expand our sports offering. We are looking at adding a sand volleyball program in the spring of 2017,” Ellis said.
Ellis definitely wants to leave his mark at SMC. His love for the school and love for sports in general is evident in the way his positive presence on the sidelines of a soccer or football game or behind the dugout at a softball game. Adding a sand volleyball program is definitely something he is looking forward to and he is excited to start bring change and leave a mark at SMC. A year from now, Ellis believes that the athletic department will only get better and a new era of SMC athletics will begin.
An honored Ellis gleefully remarks, “I envision myself continuing to work with the coaches and administration to build SMC athletics as the top academic and athletic program in the state."