by Matt Benoit
Whatcom Community College is searching for replacement candidates after Josh Turpen, student activities coordinator, head soccer coach, Orca Field manager, and psychology instructor, resigned from his positions at the college on January 7.
A Jan. 7 press release from the college said Turpen was moving out of the area to pursue other opportunities.
Kris Baier, Whatcom’s director of student life, said the vacant positions from Turpen’s departure are being evaluated, and that permanent replacements for these positions are expected “as soon as possible” after discussions occur with students, administration, human resources, and in other required areas.
Turpen began working at the college in 2007. In his role in the student life office as student activities coordinator, Turpen advised a student committee responsible for the many extracurricular activities Whatcom offers during the school year, including Orca Day and musical acts such as the hip-hop duo “Blue Scholars,” who performed at the college last May.
Laura Singletary, leadership coordinator for student programs, will take over Turpen’s duties until a replacement is named. Baier said the college will likely hire two part-time soccer coaches instead of just one full-time replacement, and several candidates are already being considered for the positions.
Turpen was also a psychology instructor and was also in charge of managing and renting out Orca Field, Whatcom’s lighted turf soccer field.
As head coach for both the men’s and women’s soccer teams at Whatcom, Turpen took the men to three consecutive NWAACC North Region titles from 2007 to 2009, and coached the women to a North Region title in 2009 in the team’s second year of existence.
Turpen’s record of 31 wins, 15 losses, and 16 ties in 62 games with the men’s team was good for an overall winning percentage of 0.500. He also coached the team to the final four of the NWAACC playoffs in 2007.
With the women’s team, Turpen had a record of 29-15-3 in 47 games, for a winning percentage of 0.617.
“I really enjoyed observing Josh coach,” said Baier. “He knew a tremendous amount about the game and he was able to communicate this knowledge to his student athletes.”
Chantel Green, a former forward on the women’s soccer team and current Whatcom Work Study student who works in student life, had known Turpen even before she came to Whatcom, as he coached the Whatcom Rangers team she was on during her high school years.
“He was an awesome coach,” Green said, adding that whether one needed help with classes or had a question about daily life, Turpen could always help.
“He’s probably the main reason I’m at Whatcom,” she said.
Nate Vandermay, chair of the programs and diversity committee that Turpen advised, said that while Turpen’s departure was a little sudden for members of the committee, he’s glad it didn’t happen at the beginning of the quarter. Still, he said it will take some time getting used to Turpen’s absence.
“It’ll be a transition,” said Vandermay, adding that Turpen brought flexibility and a mellow mentality to things, knowing how to reign people in calmly in a laid back and casual way.
“We never felt overly intimidated,” he said.
Singletary recalled Turpen as someone who was very intelligent and always positive and supportive, never overreacting.
“He was great to work with,” she said.
-Editor’s note: The Horizon attempted to contact Turpen for additional comment, but was unsuccessful in doing so.