Leaving a lasting legacy: City College women’s track and field coach Lisa Baudin will retire this spring

City College track and field coach Lisa Baudin is set to retire this year. Baudin has been with the college since 1992. 
Photo by Vanessa S. Nelson • vanessanelsonexpress@gmail.comCity College track and field coach Lisa Baudin is set to retire this year. Baudin has been with the college since 1992. Photo by Vanessa S. Nelson • vanessanelsonexpress@gmail.com
City College track and field coach Lisa Baudin is set to retire this year. Baudin has been with the college since 1992. Photo by Vanessa S. Nelson • vanessanelsonexpress@gmail.com

City College track and field coach Lisa Baudin is set to retire this year. Baudin has been with the college since 1992.
Photo by Vanessa S. Nelson • vanessanelsonexpress@gmail.com

On a rainy Thursday in her office under Hughes Stadium, women’s head track coach Lisa Baudin was scrambling to gather gear in bags for her team’s track invitational the next day in Modesto.

“I’m still in mom mode,” said Baudin, who for more than two decades has been in charge of the day-to-day, year-round operations of the track program.

After 23 years as the City College women’s head track and field coach, including a stint as an Olympic track coach, Baudin will retire at the end of the spring semester.

According to Baudin and City College athletic director Mitch Campbell, her retirement has been in the works for some time. Baudin said things have changed so much from the time she started coaching.

“The job has become a completely different beast,” Baudin said. “There’s so [many] more things that are put on a coach’s plate that the coaching piece is not finding much room on that plate.”

In fall 1993 Baudin left her assistant coaching position at San Francisco State to become the women’s track and field head coach at City College, a move she said she wasn’t sure about until she spoke with friends who pushed her to take the job. Even then, she recalled, she didn’t envision a lengthy tenure as the Panthers coach.

“In my interview [at City College] I told them I would be here five years. ‘I have aspirations of being an Olympic coach,’ ” Baudin said. “But what happened was relationships and realizing that the relationships I developed here with my student athletes were unlike anything I could get somewhere else.”

One relationship in particular began in 2004 when Rob Dewar, a track coach at UC Davis, reached out to Baudin. According to Dewar, he was looking for advice about applying for the vacant City College men’s head track coach position.

“When this opened up, I called her and asked her what’s it like there, and she said, ‘Yeah, apply. I think you’d do well here,’” Dewar said.

Dewar got the job, and Baudin’s and Dewar’s close professional relationship started. She said he has become like a little brother to her, and he jokingly said that Baudin is his “way older sister.”

Dewar credited Baudin with helping him transition from a four-year program to a community college. Both say they balance each other perfectly like yin and yang.

“I think we respect each other. I get her. I understand her. We’ve worked many years together,” Dewar said.

“I’m a little more Type A, and he’s more loose and relaxed. Over the years I think our work marriage has worked pretty well,” Baudin added.

Baudin has also formed very close bonds with her student athletes. She said one former athlete even asked her to be her child’s godmother. Tears formed in Baudin’s eyes when she started reflecting on some of these relationships.

“Sometimes we get kids in here that are sort of broken, and having the opportunity to help them rebuild and retool themselves is big,” Baudin said.

She recalled that she was the first person a former student athlete contacted when the student was date raped at a university. Baudin said she gets invited to countless weddings and has been asked to speak at funerals for several of her former students who died under tragic circumstances.

It is these qualities in a coach and professor that will make Baudin hard to replace, according to Campbell.

“I think there’s a great respect for the passion that Lisa had,” Campbell said. “That quality — that Lisa cared about
the person and not just the athlete — is absolutely required in our discipline to do what we do.”

Baudin was part of the coaching staff for the 2000 Olympic medal track team and has traveled all over the world, but she said she will continue to support Dewar. Coaching at City College will always hold a special place in her heart.

“Sacramento City College track and field is always going to be a part of my life and my world, but it’s definitely time for me to sit back and be able to reflect,” Baudin said.