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Administrator Spotlight: Butch Kamena
In addition to his longtime work in the Western Washington athletic department. Kamena has been an adjnct instructor in the WWU's political science departmenr for the last 21 years.
In addition to his longtime work in the Western Washington athletic department. Kamena has been an adjnct instructor in the WWU's political science departmenr for the last 21 years.
Butch Kamena
Butch Kamena

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Part of a regular series.

Throughout the year, GNACsports.com uses this space to profile conference student-athletes, coaches, and administrators. Collectively, it is these individuals who make the GNAC one of the top NCAA Division II athletic conferences in the nation. 

Name: Dr. T.H. "Butch" Kamena
School: Western Washington
Title: Assistant Aathletic Director for Compliance and Academics
Years In Current Position: 17, Fourth With Current Title
Hometown: Bellingham, Wash. (born in California but in Bellingham since age 14)

Colleges Attended & Degrees: Western Washington University (Undergraduate, Political Science/Journalism; Graduate, Political Science), University of Calgary (Ph.D., Political Science)

Why Did You Decide To Work In Collegiate Athletics: I did sports information work as an undergrad, so I had an idea of what was going on. I knew I wanted to work either somewhere in the athletic world or in academics as a political scientist. This has been the perfect fit as I'm still able to teach one class each term. Always thought I'd have to choose between one or the other, but I'm blessed to get to do both.

Who Has Influenced You The Most As A Professional - Either As An Inspiration, A Mentor, Or Philosophically: Don Alper: the professor of my first class as a freshman at WWU in 1984. He became my advisor for both my undergrad and master’s degrees in political science, and I was able to work with him on Canadian-American Studies issues until he retired a couple years ago. He built that program and now the class I teach each winter quarter, Can-Am 200, which is really an Intro to Canada class, has 170 students. We think it's the largest Canadian content class at any U.S. university.

Paul Madison: Most of my association with athletics until about 2001 was in sports information. Paul was not only a wonderful boss and mentor but an amazing friend who would give you the shirt off his back.

Biggest Obstacle Overcome As A Professional: That I came into doing NCAA compliance utterly clueless and without training! The previous occupant of the position left quite suddenly.

Favorite Part Of Your Job: Working with student-athletes. Seeing student-athletes come in as nervous freshmen and then graduating as confident and mature young adults and getting to play a small role in helping them get there.

What Does Division II Mean To You: I love the “Life in the Balance” slogan we've had. We go full-bore in everything we do, but we strive to do it within the context of a full, complete experience.

Extracurricular Activities: Volunteer youth soccer coach. Noon basketball with faculty and staff, a game I've been playing in for 35 years.

Best Advice You’d Give To Student-Athletes: Manage your time, don't be afraid to ask questions and find joy in what you're doing.

If You Could Spend The Day With One Person (Past Or Present), Who Would It Be (And Why): My wife Christie. She passed away from cancer in December and I'd give my left arm to spend one more day with her.

Favorite Sports Team: Sunderland AFC. The soccer team in England that spent 10 years in the Premier League but has now been relegated two years in a row and will be in the third level next season. I've been hooked since 2000.

Favorite Athlete: As a kid, Don Buse, an NBA guard, played mostly with Phoenix and Indiana. In eighth grade, I sent him the only piece of fan mail I've sent in my life. Received a signed photo back that I still have framed almost 40 years later.

In adult life, Wes Knight, who played with Vancouver in MLS and in lower leagues with other teams. My family got to know him when he was in Vancouver and he became a huge inspiration and role model for my two sons. Both boys have game jerseys he pulled off after matches and gave to them.

Most Memorable Sports-Related Moment: Too many of them! Traveling to England to see Sunderland play in 2007, sat six rows behind the goal. Many memories at WWU. Beating Central Washington at the buzzer in back-to-back years in men's basketball is up there, and one amazing men's soccer game in 1990 where we trailed at Simon Fraser 4-1 at halftime and came back to win 5-4 with a couple incredible goals. That includes a game-tying goal from 35 yards out that I can still see in my mind!

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