You pretty much know where Sheri Ross stands on feminist issues by the sign on her office bulletin board that reads: "Sure God created Man before Woman. . . . but then you always make a rough draft before The Final Masterpiece."
And, as if to back up the boast, underneath the sign are five blue and gold patches, representing the El Toro High School girls' swimming teams (1979, '80, '81, '82, '84) that Ross coached to Sea View League Championships--a record that any male coach might envy.
Aside from coaching swimming, Ross, 36, has been the girls athletic director for the Chargers since the school opened in 1974.
But what makes Ross unusual in this regard is that this fall she was appointed President of the Orange County Athletic Directors Assn. (OCADA) for a two-year term, meaning that she is now head of an organization that historically has been male-dominated.
"I think that in the past the Orange County ADs have had the reputation of being (strictly) a 'good ol' boys' organization," Ross said. "But I'm living proof that it's not. What I'd like to see, though, is more girls' ADs attending. We're trying to encourage more female participation."
By virtue of her position as coach, athletic director, and teacher with a masters degree in education, Ross seems almost ideally suited to administer the county ADs association.
"I was a delegate-at-large for the year prior to this one, so I wasn't totally a rookie coming in," she said.
As president of OCADA, aside from getting a gavel with her name on it for her office, Ross is responsible for coordinating association functions and encouraging communication among ADs, their administrators, and the community.
Said Ross, "In general, what we're trying to do is close the gap between education and athletics. At our meetings, we've had nights for administrators, board members, and (district) superintendents, just so they're aware of our problems, concerns, and ideas."
The association also sponsors scholarship programs for student-athletes by courting major soft-drink and sporting goods companies to donate money back to a constituency (high school students) that is among their major consumers.
"I think we're becoming more of a political organization, too," Ross said, noting that at past meetings state senators and politicians have been keynote speakers alongside professional athletes (such as Rams players) or CIF administrators.
"Our next meeting is October 21st at Anaheim Stadium. In the past, we've had up to 200 people attending. The food is excellent, too."
Although her new position does require a good deal of her time, Ross is one of those people who is able to budget her time better than most, sneaking this interview in-between a winter sports pep rally at El Toro and an administrative meeting at an Anaheim hotel.
"I'm especially careful not to neglect my in-house duties (at school)," Ross said. "El Toro is very special to me. I get help from my administration and the girls' athletics booster club has become viable, too. They raised about $18,000 last year--parents are now supporting their daughters' (athletics) as much as they've supported their sons.
"So, I don't feel as if I'm carrying the entire weight of El Toro girls' athletics around on my shoulders."
But if anyone had to, Ross seems the ideal person, having been raised a competitive swimmer-once even competing against eventual U.S. Olympic gold-medalist Donna De Varona in an age-group race.
Even now, Ross finds time for training for triathlons amidst her busy schedule.
Her favorite refuge from all of the paperwork involved in her hectic career, however, is her summer home at Lake Arrowhead.
"I go there the day school's out and don't come back until the day school starts," she said.
Once school starts, however, her devotion to her work is second to none.
Canyon football players are wearing patches on the left shoulders of their jerseys in memory of Herb Brohn, a former player who died recently in an auto accident.
Brohn, 23, who went on to play at San Diego State, was killed in an accident last week while traveling on the Riverside Freeway in Anaheim Hills.
Canyon dedicated last week's game (against Chaffey) to Brohn and began wearing the white, round patches (with the numeral 67 and the words "In memory of Herbie Brohn") on Friday night, when the Comanches beat Orange, 44-7.
Brohn, who played at Canyon in 1979, was married and had one child. Brohn's younger brother, Clay, played on Canyon's 1984 team.