Athletic Director's Circle

The Athletic Director’s Circle members are the core group of donors who financially support Matador Athletics and who endeavor to enhance the growth of the teams and the department. The A.D.’s Circle is comprised of alumni, parents, friends and staff who have an interest in helping to continue to build CSUN Athletics programs and facilities. The A.D.’s Circle is the central and common thread for all Athletics fundraising. Supporting the mission of the Athletics Department and the University and encouraging the advancement of each of our intercollegiate teams is the primary focus of the loyal group that is dedicated to carrying on the tradition of excellence, ensuring that CSUN Athletics continues to rise and be competitive at a national level. 

The objectives of the Athletic Director’s Circle are: 

  • To develop an esprit de corps among alumni, parents and friends of Matador Athletics, thus fostering their propensity to support CSUN Athletics’ teams and student-athletes 
  • To raise funds for both endowment and current annual use in support of the 19 varsity sports, to promote additional fundraising for general Athletics facilities and programs 
  • Assist the Athletics Director, Associate Athletics Director for External Relations and Director of Athletics Development in advancing Matador Athletics by involvement in logistics of staging activities to promote support for Matador Athletics (i.e. Matador Golf Classic, Team Behind the Teams annual fund drive, Matador Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, etc.)
  • Provide a leadership gift of at least $1,000 annually


Robert Blackburn ’97, MA ’99 

Robert K. Blackburn was born January 28, 1974 in Long Beach, California. He engaged in sports including Track & Field at Hawthorne High School and graduated in 1992. Robert wanted to be the first in his family to go to college, so he decided to attend California State University, Northridge. While in college he participated in Track & Field, joined Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity in 1993 and married his high school sweetheart Elinor Tolson-Blackburn in 1996. Robert has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Pan African Studies, which he received in 1997. Soon after graduating he returned to CSUN for a master’s degree and he graduated in 1999 with a Masters in Educational Psychology and Counseling.  He is now an Athletic Counselor for Santa Monica Community College, dabbles in Commercial and Residential Real Estate and enjoys spending time with his amazing wife and three beautiful children.



Ralph Courtney 

Ralph Courtney is a distinguished attorney who graduated from UCLA and the Hastings School of Law. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Political Science and worked in the Los Angeles Public Defenders Office. He is active in numerous community projects, including serving as a leader for the First Methodist Church in Reseda and as a member of the Cal State Northridge Foundation Board of Directors. Courtney was active in swimming while in school.



Vincent Di Pierro ’77

Vincent Di Pierro enjoyed a distinguished career as a writer/producer and was a chief negotiator for Time-Warner. His community activities are many, including being a board member for the Medocino Hospital, co-Director of the Central Coast Wine Classic and serving as an independent consultant to President Barack Obama. Di Pierro graduated from California State University, Northridge with a degree in Finance. 



Dennis De Young ‘87

Dennis De Young has worked as a stockbroker and a certified financial planner with Morgan Peabody, Inc. and extensively in the San Fernando Valley community. His community work includes: the CSUN Alumni Association (Vice-President), a board member for the North Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce, a vice-president for the San Fernando Valley Fair, the Los Angeles Youth Program and the Matador Community Credit Union. As a student at CSUN, De Young served as Vice-Chair of the University Student Union Board of Directors  and he continues to advise that organization. He has also served as Chair of the Northridge West Neighborhood Council De Young obtained his undergraduate degree in Business Administration (Finance & Real Estate) from California State University, Northridge in 1987 and he has won several community awards, including the CSUN Volunteer Service Award (Student Affairs). 


Audrey P. Duffy ’90 

Independent Insurance Agent
State Farm


Gail Friedman ‘76 

Gail Friedman has been an active member of the San Fernando Valley community for many years. She holds a BA Degree in Graphic Arts from California State University, Northridge and has served as an operations manager for Allmac Felt Company, and for 25 years as the office manager for the medical office of Dr. Charles Kimelman in Tarzana. Friedman also graduated from Monroe High School in the San Fernando Valley.


Steve Friedman ’72

Steve Friedman is a successful attorney whose community activities include Superior Court settlement officer and arbitrator. He was active in college athletics as a cross country runner and is a 1972 graduate of California State University, Northridge with a BA degree in Political Science. Friedman later graduated from the Mid-Valley College of Law. He has earned a California community college lifetime instructor credential and is a lifetime member of the CSUN Alumni Association. 



Bill Gohlke ’68

Bill Gohlke is a retired project controls engineer who worked on the Alaska Pipeline in Prudhoe Bay and on the Saudi Arabian Gas Project. He holds four degrees from four institutions of higher learning including Glendale Community College (AA), California State University, Northridge (BA), Woodbury University (MBA) and San Jose State University (MLIS) and raduated with a BA degree in Political Science from CSUN in 1968. Gohlke was an Outstanding Graduate at GCC, won a Wall Street Journal Award at Woodbury and was a member of the Phi Beta Mu Fraternity at SJSU. He is a self-described Sandbagging Golfer and the founder and supporter of Ole W. Gohlke Forum at GCC.



Jim Gorman

Jim Gorman is an avid supporter of CSUN Athletics and his longstanding service to CSUN through the Alumni Association and the Matador Athletics Association was recognized with the Dorothy Heitz Award for Volunteerism in 2009. Gorman worked as an engineer for Hughes Electronics and his community activities include the Santa Susana Mountain Park Association. Gorman obtained his BS Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and while there he was a member of the Tau Beta Pi (Mechanical Engineering) Fraternity and President of the Alpha Kappa Lambda Fraternity. He has worked as Project Manager and Department Manager.



Bruce Lemmerman '69 

Bruce Lemmerman was a top student-athlete while attending California State University, Northridge, a two-sport athlete in football and baseball. He set 12 school records in helping lead the Matadors to great success on the gridiron and was a member of the 1967 Junior Rose Bowl team and a two-time all-league selection. Lemmerman was inducted into the CSUN Hall of Fame in 1981. He obtained his BA Degree in Physical Education from California State University, Northridge. Lemmerman's community activities are many, including being the head golf coach at the Eagle Point Girl’s High School, the Tournament Director at the Eagle Point Golf Course Men’s Club and a mentor at Eagle Point Middle School. 



Nathan Matthews ’95

Nathan Matthews has more than 15 years of accounting experience at Arthur Andersen, Ernst & Young, and CNM. Before founding CNM in 2003, he served as a Senior Manager in the audit and advisory services practice focused on the high-technology, manufacturing, distribution and software industries. He has assisted public companies with a complete range of SEC-required filings and has performed multiple acquisitions and due diligence projects ranging from several million dollars to several hundred million dollars for multiple publicly-held companies. Matthews has consulted companies on the implementation of the provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for multi-national and newly-registered public companies since 2003 and is recognized as one of the premier Sarbanes-Oxley compliance providers in Southern California. He graduated from California State University, Northridge with a B.S. Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting and is also a Certified Public Accountant.  



Maria Townsend 

As a mother, wife, business professional, community leader and volunteer, Maria has gained a reputation as a responsible, caring and diligent voice for the San Fernando community. At age 17, she discovered her passion to improve the quality of life for all San Fernando Valley residents, particularly those in underserved areas. She began her professional career as a receptionist for Dr. Luis Flores in the city of San Fernando and embraced the opportunity to grow in the healthcare field Townsend attended CSUN while working with Dr. Flores. In 1992, she was recruited to work as a Business Development and Public Relations Director for Mission Community Hospital. Townsend's advocacy for healthcare issues has been an inspiration to community youth by encouraging them to participate in health fair events and organizations such as MEND, the American Heart Association, NEVHC, El Proyecto Del Barrio and many others. She received the “Breath of Life Award” from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for her contributions in 2003 and the 2001 Volunteer Award from HealthFair Expo/NBC4. She was appointed commissioner for the Rent Adjustment Commission by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. She is currently the Community Liasion and Business Development Manager for Providence Health & Services, Holy Cross Medical Center, Tarzana Medical Center and St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank. She has been married for more than 29 years and has one son, Matt, who is a Volleyball Junior Olympic gold medalist.



John Tronson ’90

John Tronson is a commercial agent with a Principal interest in Avison Young Southern California, LTD. He also leads the Entertainment Division, which represents a wide variety of creative companies in addressing their real estate needs.  Tronson's primary specialization is in representing property owners in and around the Hollywood Entertainment District, where he is widely considered the market’s premier broker. He joined Ramsey-Shilling in January of 1993, quickly ascended to a principal position, and facilitated that company’s acquisition by Avison Young in 2011. Over more than 20 years, he has developed extensive experience in sales, leasing and consulting for clients such as Kodak, Disney, Capitol Records, Fidelity, Blackrock, Apollo and Millennium.  Tronson graduated from California State University, Northridge in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Science. During his four years at CSUN he earned three varsity letters in men’s soccer and All-American Honors in 1986. He was also a member of the team representing CSUN at the National Collegiate Water Ski Championships.  Tronson was inducted into the CSUN Hall of Fame in 2012.


Bill Van Laningham 

Bill Van Laningham is the Director of Marketing of the Los Angeles Newspaper Group that publishes the Los Angeles Daily News, the Long Beach Press-Telegram and other regional newspapers. He played quarterback at San Diego State.