Pacific High's Carmel Brand Named State Athletic Director of the Year

Pacific High's Carmel Brand Named State Athletic Director of the Year
Posted on 02/15/2019
Pacific High's Carmel Brand Named State Athletic Director of the YearCarmel Brand is in a league of her own.

A woman in a field historically dominated by men, Brand has carved out a name for herself, and along the way, the Pacific High School athletic director has opened doors for hundreds of young athletes who may not have otherwise had an opportunity to play sports.

For her efforts to motivate girls to excel in sports and beyond, Brand was recently named the 2018–2019 State Athletic Director of the Year. The prestigious award was given to Brand by the California State Athletic Director’s Association and will be formally presented to her at a banquet in San Diego on April 6.

The Board of Education of the San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD) will honor Brand at its meeting on Tuesday, February 19 at 5:30 p.m. in the MU Room at Indian Springs High School.

For Brand, whose humility makes her shy away from the limelight, the recognition is validation of her work to make sports more accessible for Pacific’s students, many of whom try out for teams without ever having played the sport.

The former English teacher is one of just seven female athletic directors in the Citrus Belt area, a region that encompasses 91 schools in San Bernardino and Riverside County.

“You always question whether you’re doing a good job on behalf of students,” Brand said. “This validates that I’m doing okay.”

She’s doing better than okay, said Cajon High School Athletic Director Rich Imbriani, who has known Brand for all of the 16 years she has served as Pacific’s AD.

“Passion is what makes a good athletic director,” said Imbriani, who has held that position at Cajon for 21 years. “And, Carmel has a lot of passion for Pacific.”

Not only has Brand worked to expand Pacific’s athletic program, she has also labored tirelessly to organize the annual Women in Sports Conference, which brings together female high school athletes from across the Inland Empire to the National Orange Show Events Center for a half day of motivational speeches. The speakers are former female athletes who excelled in high school sports and are now working in sports-related fields or as doctors and lawyers.

In 2011, when Brand started the Women in Sports Conference, just 500 girls attended. Later this month, more than 1,400 girls will attend.

For Brand, being the athletic director of a small high school isn’t about winning championships. It’s about giving students a chance to excel in a sport that may motivate them to do well academically.

“We promise our kids that if they come out and try out for a team, they will play,” Brand said. “At Pacific, they won’t sit on the bench.”

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