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Bill and Tish Kartozian

Benefactors Bill, '60, and Tish Kartozian with fellow Cardinal fans, the Stanford band. PHOTO: Steve Castillo

Home of Champions Builds Homes for Coaches

Landing a coaching job at Stanford University, home of 102 NCAA team championships, is a dream come true by any measure, except one: the university resides in the most expensive housing market in all of Division I athletics.

For years, sought-after coaching staff declined offers to move to the Farm for just this reason. Due to the cost of both renting and owning in and around Palo Alto, many coaches had to commute from more than an hour away. Evening and weekend practices and games meant precious little family time. So Stanford Athletics decided to use a tactic straight from the movie Field of Dreams: If you build it, they will come.

"Now, when we bring in a coach or an assistant coach, we can say, 'Here’s your salary, here's your team, your budget, and your benefits. And by the way, here's a house," says Ray Purpur, deputy director of athletics.

During The Stanford Challenge, the university established the Coaches' Housing Fund (CHF), which has enabled the athletic department to buy and build local homes for coaches to rent. Affordable rates mean many coaches can save for their own homes. By fall 2010, a group of coaches and their families had moved into 22 rental homes in a new development on Olmsted Road, right on campus.

A $500,000 contribution from Tish and Bill Kartozian, '60, helped get the project off—or rather onto—the ground. They were key players following the lead gift from John Arrillaga, '60.

"I was on the athletic board from 1987 to 1993, so I got to know all the coaches well and knew that the housing issue was always a concern for them," says Bill Kartozian. An avid sports fan who served as a "yell leader" at Stanford back in 1959–60, he and Tish had endowed scholarships in athletics and the humanities, and knew that CHF was the next "right place" for their funds.

Each coach's home is two stories and features three bedrooms and two bathrooms––perfect for young families. The houses range from 1,550 to 1,880 square feet and come equipped with appliances and amenities.

"I cannot imagine there ever being a better housing situation in college athletics," says assistant football coach Randy Hart. "The quality, location, and overall convenience of the Olmsted project are second to none, and we have great neighbors, too."

John Rittman, head softball coach, adds, "After commuting an hour and a half every day for 14 years, it's nice to actually enjoy meals with my family and attend many more of my children’s school and athletic activities."

Coaches' families are happy with the new arrangement, too. "It's been great to hang out with the other spouses," says Gina Filter, wife of assistant baseball coach Rusty Filter. "We all share a common thread and really look out for each other and each other's children."

Keeping their connection with coaches personal, the Kartozians host an annual coaches' reception near their home in Danville, Calif. "Hearing from some of them this past year about how great it is to be in their new neighborhood, share their ideas about coaching, and have their kids grow up together has been very rewarding," says Tish Kartozian. "It’s quite the little community."

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