Lecturer SOE Emeritus
School of Education
August 1, 2008
Department of Education Benefits From Tim Tift’s Experience as Coach, Chair, Lecturer, Mentor, Advisor, and Administrator
Tim M. Tift — “Coach T” as he is affectionately known by students, friends, and colleagues — has been a fixture at UC Irvine since joining the campus in 1967. An avid promoter of physical education and sports activity for all ages, Mr. Tift taught in and later served as Chair of the then-titled Department of Physical Education. In the 1960s and 1970s, university students were required to complete a minimum of four units of physical education classes. Mr. Tift taught activity classes, golf, tennis, and water fitness. Concurrent with his teaching responsibilities, he served as Head Coach of Basketball (1967 through 1980), Head Coach for Golf (1967 through 1969), Associate Director of Athletics (1978 to 1984), and Interim Head Golf Coach from 1995-1996. In 1998, University Extension honored Mr. Tift with the Distinguished Faculty Award. In 2004, UC Irvine celebrated his many years of service by inducting him into the UCI Athletic Hall of Fame.
Mr. Tift joined the Department of Education in 1995 when the UC Irvine Academic Task Force began discussions to “dis-establish” the Department of Physical Education. Department of Education faculty members recognized that Mr. Tift’s extensive background in teaching, coaching, mentoring, advising, and administration would be an asset to the growing department. In addition to his experience at UC Irvine, he had taught at Pepperdine University, Hawthorne High School, and Dominguez High School in Compton. His teaching stint at Dominguez included experiencing the impact of the 1965 riots in Watts, the community bordering Compton.
In the Department of Education, Mr. Tift is a Lecturer with Security of Employment Emeritus. He serves as Faculty Advisor to the Undergraduate Minor in Educational Studies and Teaching Assistant Coordinator. His courses, popular with both undergraduates and credential candidates, incorporate central issues in K-12 education and educational strategies for tutoring and teacher aiding. In the past he also has taught health education and schools, cinema, and the performing arts.
Concerning his time at UCI, Mr. Tift says he has enjoyed most the interaction with students, faculty, and staff and is excited about the positive growth of the Department of Education. He believes the biggest challenge facing education is creating an environment conducive to producing teachers for the next generation. He believes the most important thing a teacher can do is relate to students and motivate them to excel. Regarding his own teaching, he believes it is most important to get to the mind by going through the heart.
Mr. Tift received his BA in Physical Education and his MA in Education Administration from Pepperdine University. For relaxation he enjoys golf, water exercise, cooking, and his grandchildren. His community engagement currently includes serving as Chair of the Californians for Patient Care Board of Directors.