MONTEREY PARK, CA — This article is a repost from the California Community College Athletic Association website dated June 6, 2018 with an added addendum. The CCCAA covers athletics of the almost 25,000 men and women student athletes in the state of California.
East Los Angeles College 18-year Director of Athletics Al Cone has announced he will be leaving his job effective June 30. He will remain a full-time instructor in the department of Kinesiology.
Cone leaves a legacy of an improved program that has raised the quality of ELAC Athletics.
“He advocated for student-athletes and demonstrated a determined drive in directing coaches to strive to attain high transfer rates to 4-year universities,” said ELAC Baseball Coach James Hines.
The women’s badminton and men’s basketball teams have had years of 100 percent transfer rates under coaches Qui Nguy and John Mosley, respectively. Cone hired them as well as football coach Bobby Godinez, who recently guided more than 50 players who transferred to all levels of college football including a few NCAA Division I schools.
Cone’s talent for hiring quality coaches resulted in two Olympians, 91 All-Americans, including 31 in track & field, 17 in wrestling, 14 in women’s swimming, 11 in baseball, which also found former Huskies playing professional sports such as the NFL.
“When I came in as the athletic director, I made sure the coaches didn’t just collect paychecks, but did everything we could as a department to give students, who trusted us to teach/mentor them, the greatest two-year experience,” said Cone. “And I think we did that.”
Cone brought an increased involvement with community outreach with dozens of life learning experiences for student-athletes including ELAC teams visiting children in hospitals, working with youth organizations, taking part in Cancer Walks, one with the American Cancer Society and the City of Monterey Park that raised $27,000, and Toys for Tots, which included Cone as Santa Claus giving children toys at the ELAC Children’s Center.
“He advocated community involvement which included involving coaches with sports camps at no cost to the community,” said Hines.
“Of all the things that we’ve done here athletically and academically, I’m most proud of our participation in violence intervention and domestic violence seminars that we mandated the student-athletes to attend,” said Cone. “When it came to student-athletes, we led with learning about domestic violence and sexual assault and how to deal with it. The seminars featured guest speakers from the community (at large).”
Cone attended ELAC games of all sports as a passionate sports fan, whether at home or on the road, from his first year through this final season as athletic director. “I was fortunate to do this and see athletics in its purest form,” said Cone. “If I had any influence at any point on any of the student-athletes, coaches and staff, then that’s a by-product of just enjoying what I did.”
“I was proud to have been able to represent this school for 18 years throughout the state of California. I was never shy about saying that I was the athletic director of East Los Angeles College,” said Cone. “Besides it being an honor for me to being the athletic director, I really believe we’ve done a lot to shine a positive light on this college experience.”
“I am indebted to this college,” said Al Cone. “for my role in the Athletics Department and that I met my wife here because I was a faculty member. Eventually both of my children, not athletes, went to school here because they understood how important this institution is to me and that they would get a good education.”
Cone stressed that being the ELAC Athletic Director was a dream job. Current Football Coach Bobby Godinez is named the new Athletic Director and begins July 1. “He is very fortunate to do so,” said Cone. “I think we take the students for granted quite often, but it’s because of these great students that I loved being here as the AD, among other things. I’m sure he will too. We are both very fortunate men.”
Aside from a continued teaching career at ELAC, Cone is going to spend more well-deserved time with his family. “My wife and I are going to spend more time traveling, something that is a passion of mine including in Japan,” said Cone. “My wife is Japanese from Tokyo,” said Cone. “My kids, who are fluent in Japanese, have been schooled in Japan as well as in America.”
In 18 years, Cone has changed the face of ELAC Athletics. The Huskies are respected in sports in which they were once considered the underdogs for decades. Every sport improved to statewide or national recognition.
Women’s badminton – under the helm of 10-year badminton coach Qui Nguy the Huskies are three-time South Coast Conference Champions and have earned an individual doubles team consolation state title. “Al Cone showing up at badminton games each season was a treat for the teams who were grateful to see and talk to their Athletic Director,” said Nguy. “He is a very caring man for all student athletes.”
Baseball – reached the state finals with Head Coach Hines and many playoff runs including 2018.
Women’s basketball – with Bruce Turner as head coach, the team was ranked No. 1 in the state and had playoff runs that included being the state runner-up, two Final Four appearances and two Elite-Eight appearances. The Lady Huskies ended Mt. San Antonio College’s 51-game South Coast Conference win streak in 2017. Several Lady Huskies have matriculated to NCAA Division I schools.
Men’s basketball – is the current winningest program at ELAC with playoff runs since six-year Head Coach John Mosley was hired, with four SCC Championship titles and six-straight playoff runs that culminated in a state runner-up spot and two Elite Eight games.
Women’s & Men’s cross country – having an individual state champion and producing more than a dozen All-Americans with former coach Louis Ramirez that included Top-10 Nationally ranked Huskies.
Football – with Godinez has had two-straight winning seasons for the first time in more than 40 years. The Huskies move into the upper division for the first time in almost 50 years when they last won a state title.
Women’s swimming – produced 14 All-American nods in two straight years under the coaching of Eric Matheson.
Men’s and Women’s track & field – becoming a Top-10 state team at the CCCAA T&F Championships this year under the tutelage of two-year coach Milton Browne. ELAC also defeated powerhouse and SCC rival Cerritos College this year for the first time in 10 years. Browne had several Huskies get national exposure with individual rankings in the junior college nation-wide polls as did coach Ramirez, who had dozens nationally ranked Huskies including several No. 1 rankings in both men’s and women’s T&F.
The history of the athletic department on this campus is outstanding. The first football game in the late 1940’s drew 10,000 fans after the religious club heavily recruited in the community.
Knowing how important community outreach is to ELAC, Cone hired coaches and gave them many roles including having them and student athletes outreach to the community. “The ability to hire my own staff, which former ELAC President Ernest Moreno and subsequent presidents entitled me to do, really played a role in that.”
“An added role for the coaches I hired included a lot of fundraising with activities away from sports,” said Cone. “I also wanted all of our head coaches to take the student athletes to outreach opportunities – I think those were important and they would instill fundamental philosophies of student athletes … there’s more to life than just news, weather and sports.”
Community outreach, naming just several of the many examples from throughout the past 18 years includes, in no special order: a student athlete relationship with the girls and boys club from the Monterey Park area, ‘Take Back the Night’ candlelit marches inspiring courage for sexual assault awareness, the Annual ‘Making Strides Against Breast Cancer’ and other Cancer Walks, Clean Up Day and a ‘Sprucing Up Day of Monterey Park,’ more than 40 football Huskies worked jointly with the City of Monterey Park, painting, pulling weeds, and planting landscapes throughout the city such as at the old Historical Observatory Museum.”
“Al Cone put a ton of work into the community, even on his own, which he worked on demonstrations and clinic type work with youth organizations,” said Hines. “He’s held coaches accountable to community work and being advocates for our programs such as having camps with no charge to the community. He’s been a huge advocate for that.”
“He was a great coach as well. Al Cone elevated the baseball program when he was the coach. It was a mediocre program when he took over but took the program up a couple of notches, consistently reaching the playoffs,” said Hines.
Cone talked about his mentors. “I’m indebted to President Moreno and to (former ELAC athletic directors) Gerald “Jerry” Heaps and Gilbert “Gil” Rosadilla who are my mentors,” said Cone. “Jerry always told me to leave it better than you found it. I really believe that I’ve done that.”
Cone said he was proud to be able to represent this school for 18 years throughout the state of California. “We’ve done some really special things there,” said Cone. “We did some things here that I think a lot of people may question, but whatever we did for 18 years while I was here, we did it right.”
Follow ELAC Athletics at http://athletics.elac.edu/landing/index or on Facebook at ELAC Huskies Athletics (@elachuskiesathletics).
submitted by Tadzio Garcia,
East Los Angeles College Sports Information Desk