New CCHS Athletic Director has some big shoes to fill

One of the most challenging jobs on a college or high campus is the athletic director. He or she is responsible for a host of athletic teams along with coaches, booster club members, the band, maintenance workers that that take care of the field and courts and sometimes out of control parents.

For the last 12 years at Culver City High School that job belonged to Tom Salter and now the new athletic director is 2001 Culver City High School graduate Adam Eskridge. "I got this crazy notion of having this job when I was a senior in high school," said Eskridge standing in the Culver City High School gym last week. "I watched Jerry Chabola (former athletic director) during my senior year. I learned the basics from him, and he and his son Casey were always big supporters of mine."

Although Eskridge learned a lot from Jerry Chabola his exposure to one of the top athletic programs in Southern California in the last 12 years gave him the blueprint for success. Under the guidance of Salter, the Centaurs girls' and boys' teams competed at the high level, winning CIF Championships in several different sports.

As a basketball and lacrosse coach at Culver City High School Eskridge was able to watch up close and personal the workings of a successful athletic program. "I would not be successful in this short period of time without Tom," said Eskridge. "If I ever have any questions Tom is always there to help me. I will put my own stamp on things, but Tom adds a different perspective.

"He talks about enjoying the kids. Tom is so levelheaded. He tells me to keep pushing and enjoy the good times and let the bad stuff roll off my back. This is my dream job. I can see myself retiring here at Culver City."

Not only does Eskridge have to manage 22 teams and other aspects of the athletic department at Culver City High School he also has to find time for his family, that includes a wife and two sons. "My sons are big sports fans, so they enjoy being able to go to different games," said Eskridge. "My family has found that balance between family and sports and the coaches have been very supportive. My family and I are working on the process. They know when the long days are coming. Everything is a work in progress, but we are getting there."

As a former basketball and lacrosse coach Eskridge still has coaching in his blood but now, he basically has to work with 22 teams. "Whenever I am passing by the gym and I hear a ball bounce I may sneak in the gym and watch a few minutes of practice," said Eskridge. "I really miss coaching basketball and I am still involved in lacrosse because my son plays on a club team."

Because of his connections to the Culver City community and the high school Eskridge already knew many of the coaches. "I knew there was a lot of work involved in being the athletic director, but the fun part is being with the student athletes and the coaches. After school when the games are played is the best time for me."

Eskridge's plans for the future include the building of a new athletic department building and press box at the football field. He would like to see an on-campus pool, so the school does not have to rely on the pool at Vets Park. He wants all the teams to have better facilities which will include separate dressing rooms for the girls and boys. He also wants to add more girls' sports like flag football and beach volleyball.

"It's very important to be able to keep up with the times because of the way kids are transferring to different schools. We have keep our facilities looking good," said Eskridge. "We are not only competing against private schools but now we are competing against public schools that have open enrollment. Our athletes deserve the best."


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