USD Athletics Engages with Linda Vista Community

A good idea starts with asking a simple, yet important, question: “How can I get to know the Linda Vista community better?” stated Bill McGillis, USD’s Associate Vice President and Executive Director of Athletics.


What better way to answer this important question than to get out into the community and meet the people and see the sights. On February 12, in collaboration with USD's Mulvaney Center for Community, Awareness and Social Action and the Office of Community and Government Relations, McGillis and 40 members of the USD Athletics Department, including coaches from men and women’s soccer, men and women's tennis, softball, cross country/track, men’s rowing, volleyball and athletic department staff loaded onto the Torero Bus and made a left turn onto Linda Vista Road.

The first stop was at Montgomery Middle school where Principal Stephanie Brown and Education Specialist Emalyn Leppard — both USD alumnae — welcomed the USD group and took them on a tour of the school’s community garden and playing fields. USD staff and coaches could see and hear firsthand what it means to be in Linda Vista.

Next was a stop at the Linda Vista Parks and Recreation Center to see the new skate park. Councilmember Scott Sherman, who was instrumental in making this park a reality for area youth and adults, was on hand to talk about the process.

“Hearing Councilman Sherman tell the story of this skate park reminds us all that it takes a lot of collaboration and perseverance on all sides to make things happen in a community,” said Malia Pfister, who works in USD’s Office of Community and Government Relations. Linda Vista Rec Center Director Ira Patron then helped staff and coaches understand what is available to the community as far as sports facilities and about the center’s current youth programming footprint.

After touring other area landmarks, participants were provided lunch by Linda Vista Market and ended the tour at Ebenezer Church with a presentation by Noel Musicha, who holds many community hats, including volunteer coach at Montgomery Middle School, pastor and Linda Vista Planning Board member. Here, USD’s contingent had the opportunity to ask how their teams could become more engaged in the community.

“It was wonderful to see the enthusiastic conversations and ideas exchanged between the USD athletic community and community leaders in Linda Vista,” said Chris Nayve, associate vice president of community engagement and Mulvaney Center director. “Toreros already have a strong tradition of serving in local and global communities and it was inspiring to witness firsthand the athletic department’s hopes of deepening our mission of being a strong anchor institution in our own neighborhood of Linda Vista.”

In the end, while the tour provided background knowledge on Linda Vista, the answer to the original question can only truly be found by continued engagement within the community. The good news is that under the leadership of Bill McGillis, USD athletics will be part of this journey.