United States Sports Academy alumna LaDeane Hansten was recently hired as the director of athletics at Santa Barbara (Calif.) City College.

Hansten holds an Academy Master of Sports Science degree in sports management, which she earned while working full time in the sport profession while raising a family at home. The Academy’s online courses are available and convenient for those working in the field.

“Having the flexibility to pursue my masters online was paramount to my ability to apply for positions in higher education,” Hansten said. “We were living in a rural area and had two young boys who were seven and three when I started at USSA. I did most of my coursework from 9 p.m. to midnight and being home eliminated the need to travel an hour away for courses and miss important milestones in the boys’ lives. I was able to make the transition from K-12 to the California Community College system and that led to my first position as an Athletic Director.”

Hansten, who was approved by the college’s Board of Trustees during its meeting on June 16, has years of experience in athletic teaching and coaching, according to Martha Swanson, the spokesperson for the city college. Hansten most recently held the position of athletic director at Columbia College in Sonora, where she led the Health and Human Performance department for seven years,  focusing on adapted physical education.

“I am a fervent believer in the mission of California Community Colleges and in putting students first and helping them succeed in reaching their goals,” Hansten said. “I am excited to begin at Santa Barbara City College and for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of students and staff.”

As director of athletics, Hansten oversees a wide range of projects including community outreach, fundraising, staff management, compliance training and reporting, eligibility training, budget management, game management, communicating with referee assignors, and being the athletic department’s liaison to the Western State Conference, Southern California Football Association, and the California Community College Athletic Association.

Hansten earned a Master of sports science with an emphasis on sports management at the United States Sports Academy, a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, as well as completing single-subject and multiple-subject credentials. She was also a former player on San Luis Obispo’s Cuesta College women’s swim team.

As Columbia College’s athletic director and representative for the Central Valley Conference (CVC), Hansten was vice president of the CVC Planning Board, chair of the Constitution and Rules Committee, and CVC sports representative for tennis.

Hansten also serves as a member of the California Community Colleges Athletic Directors’ Association (CCCAA), the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, the National Alliance of Two-Year College Athletic Administrators, and the California Community Colleges Women’s Volleyball Coaches’ Association.

“None of this would have been possible without my degree from the Academy,” Hansten said. “It would have taken me years and years to get a master’s degree from a traditional school. The Academy’s online programs really helped me out so much.”

Hansten said she loves sports because of their ability to break down social barriers and improve the lives of those who participate.

“Sports today improve mental and physical health, while continuing to break down societal inequities,” she said. “Luckily, today there is more focus on student-athlete mental health and the recognition that being a student-athlete comes with additional stressors. Improved diversity among athletes, coaches, and administrators has led to some very necessary conversations about how to provide more opportunities for underrepresented groups. We still have so much work to do in both of these areas, but my colleagues and I in athletic administration are dedicated to pursuing them with urgency.

“Sports impact our lives in so many ways; learning to work hard, dealing with failure or unmet expectations, working harder, celebrating and appreciating successes along the way. The emotions and connections that we feel from being part of a team or sharing an incredible win with one another, the look on an athlete’s face when they surprise themselves with their own best time, hugging a parent after a huge win, all of those things are such special moments as a coach or an athlete.

“You never know when the next great moment will come or when the last one has passed, and that makes all of them so special.”