Oral History Interview Transcript II

Interviewer: Laura
Interviewee: Sandy Hatfield Clubb

November 13, 2015 at 2:30 in her office (Interviewee was 20 minutes late cutting interview short)


Laura: OK. My first question is that you talk about how you grew up in Maryland. And so can you tell me about that?

Sandy: What all do you want to know?

Laura: So, anything.

Sandy: Just a little bit about my background growing up?

Laura: Yeah.

Sandy: OK. So I have a an older brother he’s sixteen months older than me so we’re really close in age, just one year apart in school and I have a sister who’s four years younger than me and so we grew up. I actually lived…. My father is a biochemist for the National Institute of Health in the National Cancer Institute and so he works for the federal government and that’s how we got to the Washington D.C. area. So that was when I was about five or six probably five. Then he went to work for them full time.  Prior to that, he was a fellow at the Pasture Institute in Paris, France. So we lived in Paris and I was born in North Carolina. I Lived in D.C. then Paris, France for a few years and then back to the U.S. where then we settled in Bethesda Maryland. And so my… I have a very um… My parents were in a very toxic relationship and worked on getting a divorce for about ten years. (laughs) And so we had a very um difficult childhood. The three of us. So I was… I left home at sixteen years old and so I was a swimmer. Up until that time. And then I quit swimming when I had to go to work full time so I was in a, what’s called a work oriented curriculum program so I didn’t ever go to a real…I was at a real high school but I wasn’t in high school. I was in a, a special program for usually children that are trying to at best finish high school. Basically for high school dropouts. So. I was in that work oriented curriculum program beginning of ninth grade actually. And so by tenth grade, I was working full time. And then going to school in the morning. And then I literally started to drop out and thankful to one of my teachers, I was able to finish high school that year. So I had to go to the school in the morning. Work all day and then go to school at night. And then I could finish in one year. And so I finished high school. A year early in 1981 my class was 82. And so I was out of high school for two years. In a bad situation. When you live on your own at sixteen it’s really not very pretty and so I had a pretty bad… lots of bad decisions lots of bad situations. Until I was nineteen and then, like literally woke up with a knife to my throat. And that next day I bought a ticket to go to El Paso Texas. That’s where my family’s from both my mom and my dad are from El Paso Texas and I didn’t know where else to go I just wanted to get away. And so I bought a ticket to go out there and find a job and all that which I did. And then I flew back and literally just packed pretty much everything I owned in the middle of the night that I could fit in my car and drove away. And so that’s when I left Maryland and toured around the country a little bit in my car and then was to El Paso and I had a job just sort of kind of wandered aimlessly there. Lived with cousins. And then my aunt and uncle. And then my grandma got ahold of me actually and she paid off—I told you the part about my grandmother before?

Laura: Yeah a little bit.

Sandy: Yeah yeah. I was young. That’s the rest.

Laura: OK. Yeah I was going to just ask. You said your Grandma pushed you to go to college. Because that wasn’t originally part of your plan?

Sandy: Right.

Laura: And then. So I guess my question was are you a good student?  Like were you a good student and how like what made the values that you talked about last time you know…

Sandy: Yea, yeah

Laura: Become important to you?

Sandy: So I … school is something that comes really naturally to me. And I think it’s because I lived in such a turbulent household. That I learned to really read people, like I could read emotions, I could read what people wanted. And so as I, so school came very easy to me and so it’s kind of how I got attention. When I was a kid is getting A’s and getting you know blue ribbons or gold medals or whatever that’s kind of how I got my love and affection and attention. And so I was very good in school. So even though I was dropping out of school, it wasn’t because I wasn’t good at it. It was just because I was really lost, a really lost a kid. And so my, my grandmother paid my, paid off my car. She paid my first semester tuition and my first year room and board. And she said that’s it I can’t do anything else, financially so you gotta figure it out. So I was so afraid to let her down, that I studied my brains out. Even though I hadn’t been in school for two years and I really didn’t have a high school education and I took really easy classes my first semester but I took twelve hours of classes. And I pulled a four point. And so my grandmother introduced me, took into the scholarship office. And basically told the scholarship director, You know this is a lost child and she is worthy of investment and blah blah. And so his name was Dr. Chism. Tom Chism. And he said you know we don’t give out scholarships mid-year but somebody lost their scholarship at the end of the fall. And sh– he said so I have one 1 semester of scholarship that I can give you. And I’ll give it to you one semester but you have to keep your grades up. And then you have to get involved in the fabric of school. And he wrote like on a little piece of paper. You have to get involved with the public programs office, you have to get involved in the honor society like all these things he said you gotta get involved in all this stuff. So I did everything he told me exactly what he told me to do and I did really well in school and I think I had to keep like a three five G.P.A. or something I had to keep a really high. G.P.A.. But then I received a scholarship for the rest of my education. So. That covered all of my tuitions my books. And gave me probably a few hundred dollars extra for each semester and so then I worked I been working since I was fifteen so I always worked. But. So I was working to pay for the rest of my expenses and what have you so that’s how I ended up. You know getting in school so. So education and sports have always been two things that have kind of kept me, you know, going. And so when I was a kid like I said those are the two things that got me love and attention, right. What I thought was love and attention at the time. And so those are just always things that have righted my ships. When I got a little bit lost in college you know I started swimming and then that got me back involved in swimming and that got me involved in coaching and that got me involved in athletic administration.

Laura: Yea

Sandy: It’s like how I got into my job is through swimming and then school is just something I’ve always done really naturally so. So as I was graduating from from college with my undergrad. I had been swimming and just kind of helping out with the pool because I love the pool. And so I just you know was there any time I could be that I didn’t have to be somewhere else. And so they needed a teaching assistant to help teach swimming classes in the School of Education so they gave me a teaching and research assistant ship. So that paid for my graduate school. So it paid my, all of my tuition. And then gave me like, I don’t know two hundred bucks a month or something like that that to help me pay for books and some living expenses and what have you so. And then I worked. Other jobs, I coached swimming. I taught swimming like private lessons and then I worked at a restaurant bar kind of thing at night just to have some cash. Yea So. But I always had a couple of jobs or whatever you know, just to make my way. But school’s something I’ve always, it comes very naturally to me. And then when I was at Arizona State. I worked on my doctorate. I finished thirty six hours of my doctorate. And then lost complete interest in what I was studying. And I, I haven’t finished it. Hopefully I’ll finish them one day.

Laura: Yeah, what is your research in for that?

Sandy: that’s what where I stopped. So I did all my undergrad, not my undergrad, all my coursework. I finished it’s in public administration. So I finished all my coursework. And then I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do with my research. It just was, I was doing my doctorate to get the credential not because I was really interested in it and that degree program was was one that was easy for me to fit into my work schedule so that’s why did it. And it was interesting but it wasn’t like now. I can’t wait to do my… I want to. I really want to complete a doctorate because now I know what I want to study like now. I’m really excited about doing really serious research about leadership and particularly how sport influences development in leadership and what have you so I would love to actually study that.

Laura: Yeah

Sandy: Not just do it like it’s fun to do it but I would really love to study it and do some writing. I love to write I love to do research and what have you I just don’t have time to do that now,

Laura: Yea

Sandy: So

Laura: Cool, that would be really good. Besides your family that you’ve talked about did you have any other role models that you’ve looked up to along the way?

Sandy: Well, lots of role models in work. Like I can’t even probably… I will, I’ll miss a bunch of them. But I’ve had unbelievable athletic directors that I’ve worked for that are my mentors. I may have mentioned them before. The A.D. at Ohio State, the A.D. at Duke, those both of them were amazing role models and mentors of mine. You know specifically in terms of female athletic directors. She’s retired now but she retired as the athletic director at University of Nevada Reno. Kerry Groth is her name um, I don’t even know there’s bunches of them. Like I I’m kind of like the person that like these people that I mentioned before. Like Nancy Kent, my teacher and my grandmother and Dr. Chism. Those people fundamentally changed my life like they entirely changed the trajectory of my life without them at that critical time in my life I mean who knows where I’d be, I’d probably be dead. And so I can’t really point to any one thing. Other than the whole values thing I think we talked about that before.

Laura: Yeah

Sandy: That was Gene Smith who was the A.D. at Ohio State now who introduced me to that experience and really helped foster that in me which is fundamentally changed—kind of helped me be more of who I am which is really cool, for me I don’t know if it’s cool for anybody else, but it’s cool for me. So does that answer your question?

Laura: Yeah that’s pretty much what I had.

Sandy: I know one thing I was going to finish and say like now,  I see lots of role models like I model myself after people that I think are really cool. You know like, I see them do things, I’m like I want to be more like that person. Or they help me be more like me. You know. So now, for example. The executive director or the C.E.O. of NACWAAS was this National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators. She’s somebody like, I love being around her. I just kind of grab on her like she’s somebody that I want to be more like. Shannon Coufield, she works here in the president’s office she’s somebody that I just think is a just a rock star I like the way she works with people you know so I find role models in like lots of people now that I just like to, I’ll do whatever I can to hang out with them and just watch them and you know, bat things around with them and learn from them because you know it’s just. And it doesn’t matter who they are. Everybody’s got something to teach you, you know. So yeah.