Jan Duquette


Jan Duquette 


Kinesiology &Athletics Instructor Jan Duquette Reason for coming to Saddleback College:

In 1977 when I was 25 years old I accepted a full time position as Physical Education Instructor and Head Women’s Softball Coach. I had been teaching classes part time at San Diego City College for 3 years in Women’s Conditioning, Beach Volleyball, and playing on a women’s fast-pitch softball league.  I have a bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education from Arizona State University and Master’s Degree in Physical Education from San Diego State University. My first Interview took place in Doug Fritz’s office; he was the Athletic Director, with Betty Sherrer, Roy Stevens, and Bill Mulligan.  The second level interview was with Bill Kelly, the Dean of Instruction, while walking around the college campus.

A fond memory, a favorite story, or a favorite student:

  • The first 3 years at Saddleback were probably the most interesting.  I was assigned to teach six classes: Beginning Tennis, Women’s Conditioning and Figure Control, Aquatic Conditioning, Beginning Racquetball, Beginning Volleyball, and team teaching Dance Aerobics.  The Dance Aerobics class was extremely popular. It was based on “Jazzercise”.  The class had to be scheduled in the Saddleback College Gym due to the large enrollment, between 100-150 students!  During the day I taught this class with Betty Sherrer and at night I taught it with Cindy Wilson.  We choreographed routines to music and literally danced on large tables so the students could see how to follow the steps.  We played music records and the workouts lasted from 60 to 90 minutes.
  • Creating the first Women’s Softball Team at Saddleback College also required that we create the first softball field in conjunction with the development of the first swimming pool facility on campus.  “Flip” Darr and I met with architects to develop design concepts for both facilities.  This coordinated effort involved removing the dirt next to the locker rooms and filling the ravine west of the Physical Education Office Building 400 to create a level playing field for a softball diamond.  This process lasted nearly 4 years and in the meantime I was recruiting potential softball players from all the high schools in South Orange County.  I somehow managed to convince 20+ girls to enroll at Saddleback knowing we would be playing off campus on the community fields on Alicia Parkway and Jeronimo from 1980-1982.  Finally, the Saddleback College Softball facility was completed in 1983 where the women’s softball team still plays 30 years later.
  • Among the fun memories from our “PE Division” were the wonderful coaches in all sports and the closeness we all shared.  Nearly every department meeting was followed by a “happy hour” at the Rib Rack. (This is now the “Mountain View Church” --- formerly the Land Rover Dealer).  We initiated the Faculty Olympics in 1987, which was a huge gathering of teams from each Division at Saddleback, including the College Administration that competed in 10 events on the last day of the Spring Semester.  Individual events included: Tennis return, Softball hitting, Golf strokes, Frisbee throw, Basketball free-throw, Volleyball serve, Jumping rope, and Softball throw.  Team events included:  Relay race (1 lap using self-powered vehicles on the track—wagons, tricycles, pogo sticks); Obstacle race (run to and climb over port-a-pit, run to hula hoops “hula” five times; run around box obstacles; jump over small water pool; run and hurdle small obstacles to finish); and Pool inner tube race (5 tubes tied together, hand paddle 1 length of pool). Trophies were awarded to individual winners in each event and a large team trophy to the Division Champion followed by a Pot Luck Awards Party at Doheny Beach!!   GOOD TIMES!!!

Challenges and Experiences at Saddleback College over the Years:

  • In 1968 there was only Saddleback College.  Today the South Orange County Community College District also includes Irvine Valley College and ATEP.  For a few years we also had Cal State Fullerton Satellite campus located where The Village is now.
  • Progress over the past 30 years in the Physical Education Division:

When I began teaching there were only three women’s sports and instructors, and ten men’s sports and instructors.  In 2013, we have 19 sports and 14 full-time instructors (seven men and seven women).  At the beginning, PE classes were taught in the portables and the gymnasium.  Recently, the name Physical Education has been changed to Kinesiology, (the study of movement), to articulate with the state colleges and universities.

Although the Kinesiology department has the largest acreage of “outdoor classrooms” on the campus, the department has lost many areas due to student demand for more parking and “upper campus” renovations of older buildings.  For example, the former Archery Range behind the tennis courts is now a parking lot; the original racquetball courts became the Gaucho Strength Training Center and at the moment it is the Cinema Arts Studio/classroom. One big improvement was moving the old “Fitness Center” from the portable “Q” Building into the new “Lifetime Fitness Center” thanks to Dixie Bullock, former College President.  The main concern lately is losing more precious outdoor classrooms such as the East Practice Fields (used for large Soccer classes and Football practice) to make another parking facility. A new college stadium with permanent seating for college and community events, with critically needed restrooms and concessions should be a big priority. Nothing has changed since 1968!

My Experience Teaching at Saddleback College --- THE BEST!!

Teaching at Saddleback has fulfilled my “life’s purpose.” The gift of teaching is rewarding, satisfying, and affects students in ways we may never know. Teaching has brought happiness to my heart and soul! The years have flown by. I have made a family at work and lifelong friends that I cherish, including devoted students and former players.