Clauss reflects on fall season, his upbringing

Denny Cristales, Editor-in-Chief

Athletic Director Dan Clauss talks about the fall season, standout athletes, his upbringing to where he is now and working with Dean of Athletics Dan Smith.

The following is a Q&A with Athletic Director Dan Clauss:

How has the fall season shaped up thus far?

It’s been very good. Our men’s and women’s cross country team did a lot better than we expected at state. Our women finished fifth, and our men finished ninth. Men didn’t do well for SoCal, but they really stepped it up for state.

Men’s and women’s soccer both got the one and two seed, so that means home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The wrestling team is ranked No. 1; we’ll hopefully win state this year.

The football team finished real strong with a great bowl game win. (It) finished strong right at the end.

Our sports are doing really well.

Thomas Cheval, who was our decathalon winner for state, he is a freshman, the University of Oklahoma came by and offered him a full-ride scholarship. It is really difficult to get a full scholarship for track and field. It’s a little disappointing because we’d love to have him for next year … coaches kind of expect people to come back … coaches are like ‘ah, man, I don’t want to let him go.’ But then we have to remind ourselves that we are here to give our (athletes) the opportunity to transfer to four-year colleges.

Volleyball – we’d thought (it) would squeak in and get the last seed for playoffs, but it just didn’t turn up, and (it) just missed the playoffs.

Overall, it’s been a great fall. Great (athletes).

Men’s water polo – if we beat (Mt. San Antonio) in that tournament, (it) would have made it to the playoffs. That was a little disappointing. Women’s water polo was a little down this season, but both of (the teams) have high expectations for next season.

Tell me the amount of work involved for an entire season. How’s the work load?

It’s a lot of set up, a lot of preparation. I’ve had to get staff set up for soccer, staff set up for football (last) Saturday. Yeah, there’s a lot of work that goes into it. It’s funny for me, because after fall I kind of go like ‘Ah, I finally get a break,’ and then basketball starts.

Mike Miles, our athletic counselor, he’s got to see 800 athletes, he’s got to make sure everybody has comprehensive ed-plans and making sure that everybody is eligible to compete.

In the middle of the season, it gets difficult because you get registration dates for athletes. So, you kind of have to stop everything you’re doing and make sure all the athletes are registered in the right classes for the spring. Our athletic counselor does a really great job with that.

Tell me how you got this position as athletic director. How long have you been doing this?

It’s my fourth year. I kind of got lucky. I was a football coach. I started off here as an adjunct football coach, and then I got a full-time job at San Bernardino Valley College; I was assistant football coach there for three years.

And then, I went back to Grossmont College full-time – that’s my alma mater – for three years. When this job came open, I had no idea – I had never even thought of being (athletic director). It’s hard to go from not being a head coach, to an (athletic director).

Coach Grosfeld, who was the interim-athletic director, told me ‘hey, why don’t you apply and see what happens?’ And I did, and I got the job and I was shocked. It took some adjustments and learning – you never stop learning.

As you go, you always have new stuff to figure out.  I love it, though. I love Cerritos College. I wouldn’t want to work as this at any other college.

It’s a great place to work. It’s a lot of work; we have 19 sports, but I love it.

Tell me how it’s like working under Dan Smith (dean of athletics).

Dan Smith – he’s great. He’s not a micro-manager. I run a lot by him, and he’s just got a wealth of knowledge. If I ever have problems and I can’t figure it out, I go to him.