New Clark College Athletic Director Charles Guthrie is on the opposite side of the country from his hometown of Albany, N.Y., but he said living in Camas feels strangely like being back home.
“I love how kind and genuine people are here. They are really passionate about this institution and this community. It’s a nice change of pace after working in bigger metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles and San Diego, where people don’t have that same sense of community,” Guthrie said. “This area is more similar to where I grew up, where everybody knows your name. I feel like I have come full circle.”
After nearly six years of serving as the director of alumni and parent relations at Cal State University-San Marcos, in Los Angeles, and four years as an associate athletic director at the University of California, in San Diego, Guthrie’s first day of donning the Penguin silver and blue was Aug. 8. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science, from Syracuse University, and a master’s in education and policy studies, from the University of Albany.
Guthrie describes his first days on the job as a “listening and learning tour.” His guides are Administrative Assistant of Athletics Marla Derrick and former Interim Athletic Director Denny Huston. Derrick is a Camas resident, and Huston is a Camas High School graduate and a member of the Camas Athletic Hall of Fame.
“Marla has been a huge centerpiece for this department in the last few years,” Guthrie said. “I will continue to pick her brain, as much as I can.
“Denny left some large shoes to fill. Having a former player, coach and athletic director around to help me in this transition has been a blessing,” Guthrie added. “I want to make him proud, as an alum. He gave a good chunk of his life and dedication to Clark athletics.”
Guthrie is also getting acquainted with Clark’s athletic fields and facilities, which he says are on par with the ones he saw at the four-year universities in New York, San Diego and Los Angeles.
“What attracted me to Clark was the opportunity to work with two-year athletes and get them prepared for life at a four-year university. I feel like I’m at the ground level, which is a good fit for me,” Guthrie said. “This whole operation will be based on student service. Although we like to see championships, I think giving student athletes multiple ways to succeed in life after they leave this institution is more important.”
Fall classes begin at Clark on Sept. 26. In the meantime, Guthrie is anxious to meet the current and upcoming Penguin athletes.
“The future for me is to come to work with an open mindset, roll up my sleeves and get after it. I will continue to pick the brains of people in this community,” he said. “A lot of people are congratulating me for getting this job, but I find that a little premature because I haven’t accomplished anything yet. I want to leave my mark on Clark, be here for a long time and help it grow into a place we are all proud to call home.”