On February 18, 2014, the Citrus Belt Area Athletic Directors Association (CBAADA) inducted three members into their Hall of Fame: Mike Rowan of Chaparral High School, Kevin Stipp of Rancho Verde High School, and Joe Vargas of Victor Valley High School.
The CBAADA, which represents athletic directors from public and private high schools throughout Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, has inducted only 41 athletic directors into the Hall of Fame in its four-decade history.
Keynote speaker, Rob Wigod, Commissioner of the California Interscholastic Federation’s Southern Section, congratulated the CBAADA organization on its camaraderie, cooperation and common spirit. Wigod encouraged the attendees to continue to make the effort, maintain a tradition of excellence and to leave a legacy. He commended the three nominees on representing the organization and their profession with hard, work, dedication and professionalism.
Darren Mott, Athletic Director at Murrieta Valley High School, introduced Rowan as an inductee. “When I first got the job, I turned to Mike Rowan for advice and direction,” said Mott, “He has been a mentor, colleague, and friend over the many years. He taught me what it means to put kids first and how to deal with parents and coaches.”
Rowan has been an educator for over 37 years and an athletic director for twenty years. He has coached football, basketball, tennis, soccer, and baseball. He was athletic director at Garden Grove High School for three years. He earned his BS in biology and P.E. from the University of Southern Utah and his Master’s in school administration from the University of LaVerne. He also has a Certificate of Athletic Administration from the state CIF and is a Certified NFHS/CIF Coaching Education instructor.
Rowan started teaching at Pius X High School. He also taught at Garden Grove High School, Temecula Valley and Chaparral. Rowan was athletic director at Garden Grove for four years and has been AD at Chaparral since the school opened 17 years ago.
During his tenure there, Chaparral’s success ranges from its first league championship in girls soccer the year the school opened to, more recently, a girls volleyball CIF championship, a state academic team champion, and a football CIF championship. Chaparral teams have won over 50 league championships since the school opened. The school has also produced numerous individual CIF Champions as well as countless All-CIF, All-Valley, and All-League players.
“My favorite part of being an athletic director was watching student-athletes grow and develop as they compete for their high school,” said Rowan, “ and then following them as they go on to compete at the next level.”
Up until this year, Rowan was the only athletic director at Chaparral High since it opened seventeen years ago. “Opening a school and building a program from the ground up is an awesome experience!” exclaimed Rowan, “I got to be involved in the school’s facilities design, choosing a mascot and school colors, and being a witness to every Puma FIRST! It has been a special experience to contribute to CHS’ growth and development into one of the top high schools in the state both academically and athletically.”
Rowan credited his wife of 36 years, Barbara; his “office wife” for ten years, athletics department secretary Shelley Jackson; his first hire, athletic trainer John Rentar, who has been with him twenty years; and Temecula Valley School District Superintendent Tim Ritter, who was Chaparral Principal in 2002.
“There was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears over the years,” said Rowan, “One of the best decisions I ever made was to join the CBAADA on the recommendation of Stan Ford (Hall of Fame AD from Temecula Valley). The organization epitomizes what athletics is all about.” Rowan spent five years as Awards Chairman for the CBAADA, President in 2007, and league liaison since then. Rowan expressed his appreciation to the athletic directors in the Southwestern League.
“The Southwestern League is one of the toughest in the state when it comes to competition,” said Rowan, “My legacy is that Chaparral comes to compete, regardless of the sport. Chaparral is on the map today because of competition.”
Kevin Stipp, Ranch Verde, spent 28 years as an educator and ten as an athletic director. As a basketball coach, he earned seven league titles and three Coach of the Year awards. In 2007, he received the Norm McKenzie Award from the California State Athletic Director Association.
Joe Vargas, a 1972 alumnus of Victor Valley High School, returned there to coach and teach for 34 of his 35 years in education. He coached baseball for fifteen years and was named Baseball Coach of the year five times. He was Victor Valley’s AD for 14 years.
“I am honored, proud, and privileged to be part of the CBAADA Hall of Fame,” said Rowan