The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

For 33 years a fitness instructor has been impacting others at El Camino


An El Camino professor has taught fitness and health education courses for the past 33 years.

Tom Hicks, fitness professor, began his career as a part-time baseball coach at El Camino in 1980 and got hired at Azusa Pacific University as the head baseball coach in 1981.

Coaching for a total of three years gained him the experience he needed and was later offered a position at El Camino as a full-time professor.

“The atmosphere is very conducive to education, the deans [and the Health Division has] been easy to work for,” Hicks said.

Hicks said that community college is a great transitional step to know what you want to do in life.

“For 33 years this has been a very safe place to teach. I’ve always felt safe on this campus,” Hicks said.

Russel Serr, an adapted physical education professor, has worked in the Health Division with Hick for the past 20 years.

“He was kind of my mentor when I first started, filling me in on how the college works,” Serr said.

Both Serr and Hicks are members of the Academic Senate and like to be involved on campus. Serr considers Hicks to be a very well organized professor who provides helpful learning assessments, Serr said.

“He takes extra time and spends it one on one with students,” Serr said.

Mark Lipe, who has also taught at El Camino for 27 years has been a professor for adapted physical education.

Lipe explains how Hicks does a phenomenal job as a professor and is very disciplined.

“I have always marveled when I walk by his classroom, he is very organized and direct in his delivery of his lectures,” Lipe said.

Hicks leaves a strong impression on his students, always willing to help and makes sure they stay alert during class.

“He is very proactive and very much loves his students. Very much sports minded,” Kevin Sparkuhl, 54, info technology major said.

Class could sometimes be a hassle for most students and a lot of the time they begin to lose interest. However, some students think otherwise.

“Being my first semester after 12 years, [health] is one of the classes I’m excited to [go] to,” Astrid Martinez, 31, paralegal major said.

Teaching at El Camino has been the best career experience known to Hicks. He has never thought to seek a career anywhere else, according to Hicks.

Hicks got inspiration from his father who also was a head baseball coach for five to seven years and noticed the huge impact he had on students.

“Over the years I’ve really enjoyed being able to impact the lives of the students in my classes,” Hicks said.

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