Most community colleges have an almost laughable presence. They get treated as a “starter” colleges where students go to get their college basics out of the way before moving on to a “reputable” four year college. Well, that is not the case with Orange Coast College (OCC) and especially not for those in the rowing program. In the past sixty years, OCC has won the the national rowing title a staggering eleven times. This year OCC was looking to add a 12th national title to the boathouse wall.
Rowing is not an easy sport. It’s backbreaking work and requires all rowers to be in synchronicity with each other, which requires hours of grueling practice. Rowing is not for the faint of heart. The program at OCC breeds some of the best rowers in the country. OCC has 10 rowers that have moved on to the world competition level, just as good as a prestigious four year university. And the rowers say the sport has built their self esteem and given them goals to accomplish after moving on from college.
Part of this never give in mentality comes from the college itself. OCC was built on part of a defunct Army base in 1947, right after World War 2. College football players made up most of the construction crew and were paid to help renovate the old Army buildings into passable facilities for college attendees. Since this time the building has undergone major renovation in the 1970’s and more recently in 2015.
OCC serves 25,000 college students a semester and has a full roster of academic classes and sporting teams for an overall great college experience. OCC is a commuter school with no permanent housing, but this hasn’t held the school back from being ranked 65th out of 5,000 community colleges across the country for awarding Associates degrees. To read more about OCC, please click here.