by Jennifer Parsons
It is always exciting to hear about alumni from the University of La Verne who have gone on to “make it big.”
Some are sports stars, others news anchors, and when their names are mentioned in conversation, one spouts out, “I knew him, he went to ULV.”
It is the reverse effect for La Verne’s assistant football coach, Tarn Sublett, a former Wall Street proprietary bond trader for CityCorp.
“I answered to no one, people answered to me. I got to trade bonds. It was fun, it was interesting, exciting, but it was very greed oriented and just focused on myself.
“I am already moody, it made me even moodier. People were cranky around me. They took vacations without me, it was a little, you know, downer,” said Sublett.
Prior to working for CityCorp, Sublett attended the University of Washington, where he received his bachelor of arts in business administration and played football for four years as a quarterback.
He then worked as an analyst for Donaldson Lufkin and Jenrette, “the best investment bank in history,” he said.
Why would a successful Wall Street figure come to La Verne to coach football?
“Because I love La Verne. It is not about the money,” said Sublett.
Although he has coached football at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his master’s in business administration and finance, Sublett prefers coaching at ULV.
“I like the small campus where we are interested in student’s well-being. That allows them the latitude and the freedom to develop relationships that are uncommon at larger institutions,” he said.
Sublett is a very straightforward person and often times, comes across as gruff and mean.
“People don’t understand Tarn, they don’t understand where he’s coming from, where he’s been. All they see is what he tells them right there and if they were to think about what he says, find out where he’s been what he’s done, what he knows, then they’d look at his point of view. I hated him for one day, really bad, but then I sat back and I thought about it and said, you know what, he’s right,” said junior receiver Matt Durant.
“He challenges to go beyond limits that are expected,” said sophomore receiver Andrew Woolsey.
Sublett remembers coaching at Cleveland High School, in Seattle, Wash., that had forfeited more games in the last ten years than won.
“The former coach had stolen all of the equipment and sold it to buy drugs. [Of] 40 kids [on the team], 26 to 27 had parole officers for a felony in high school,” he said.
“We had kids throw rocks at me. At the end of the year the head coach said ‘Anybody wants to hit anybody on the coaching staff, line up and take a shot at him.’ Every player hit me, tried to tackle me,” said Sublett.
“Then Hoover Hopkins, head coach — great guy — said, ‘Now let’s not just go one at a time, everybody can go hit him at once.’ ”
Although the players did not like Sublett, it did not stop him from successfully coaching the team.
“They had the longest losing streak in the state history, we stopped the streak; we won two games that year.”
Sublett did not get paid that year.
“We [Hopkins and Sublett] worked for free because we love football, we love football players, we got two kids Division I scholarships and that was very rewarding,” he said.
Aside from coaching, Sublett also teaches Business Finance, Finance Managerial Accounting and Financial Institutions in the University’s School of Business and Global Studies.
Sublett temporarily left his wife of eight years, Kelly, 7-year-old son Ryan and 2-year-old daughter Sierra, all of whom reside in Washington, to move into the Oaks Residence Hall, all for the love of La Verne. Now, that, is dedication.
“I think that it’s great that we have a professor on campus that eats in the dining hall. It’s unique to La Verne and we’re happy to have him,” said head football coach Don Morel.
“The first time I played football was the most influential lesson. My dad would not let me play football until seventh grade, he wanted me to want it, desperately, and then I did want to play desperately.
“It is one of greatest experiences I had because, everybody, no matter how good you are gets knocked down and you can get up.
Football [is] the greatest sport of all time — all time. Why? Because you get to hit people, it’s physical, there is not as many rules, you get to get hit, and you get to deliver the blows,” Sublett said.
Mark Potocki, assistant football coach, considers Sublett “one of the most dedicated professionals I’ve ever met, I like to refer to him as my role model. He is a constant learning experience.”
“Tarn is the hardest worker I’ve ever been around. Terrific work ethics brings excitement to everything he does,” said Morel.
Aside from football, Sublett is “dedicated to his wife and his children,” said Kelly, although she does point out that “it’s pretty hard for him to make mistakes when he is so far away.”
“I would have never gotten married if I hadn’t met my wife. The whole thought of it was just depressing, but she has been a unique and powerful force in my life,” said Sublett.
Breaking the stereotypes of football “jocks,” Sublett is interested in the work of leaders such as Winston Churchill and Napoleon.
He also takes a strong stance on political issues, labeling himself as the “most staunch Republican of all time.”
“If someone paid me $10 million, I would get Saddam Hussein tomorrow,” he said.
“Reagan was the greatest president of my lifetime. He has really pushed us into the forefront by deregulating, by providing incentive for powerful people to follow the free economics and to do the right thing,” Sublett said. “What we need to do now is to diminish the political juggernaut that Clinton is trying to reestablish in office. I mean, it’s embarrassing; Reagan provided us with a surplus and now he [Clinton] is trying to spend it all on ridiculous and ludicrous policies.”
Considering Sublett has already reached many Americans’ goals — including becoming a successful businessman and traveling across the United States and Europe — his future goals seem somewhat simple.
“I want La Verne to win the national championship in football. I am doing what I really want to do, coaching football. I’d like to coach in front of more people and I ‘d like to coach in games that are important, games that are significant.”
With as much determination and success that Sublett has already shown, it seems whatever he wishes to accomplish will be a piece of cake.