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Full time -- relatively small words but a very big deal to Lacey Campbell and Monica Ohkubo.

Campbell, after two years as interim women's basketball coach at Santa Rosa Junior College, has been hired as full-time coach.

Ohkubo, an adjunct certified athletic trainer at SRJC, takes over next fall for head trainer Byron Craighead, who is retiring after 37 years.

The positions were made official at the Santa Rosa JC Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday night.

"It was important to everyone that the job went full-time because it's a major sport ," said Campbell, a former star player at Point Arena and Sonoma State.

"It's a good feeling," said the 25-year-old. "I had a job but it wasn't full-time. . . . Now I feel I really have a place here."

Ohkubo, 26, has similar thoughts about her new role.

"I'm excited to enter such a prestigious position and work with such a talented group of coaches, athletes and faculty," said Ohkubo, a Rancho Cotate grad who played softball at SRJC before going to SSU.

"My goal is to uphold and build upon the tradition already established," she said. "Byron is my mentor . . . he is so energetic about his profession and I love his passion and excitement for what he does."

Ohkubo called the job interview "the most rigorous interview process I'll ever see, but it goes along with SRJC being such a great institution."

Craighead, a legend among certified state athletic trainers, expects Ohkubo to "carry the ball and carry on the tradition here. . . . I don't mind handing the keys over to her."

He praised her "passion for the profession," adding "she will be a great educator and we are here to educate. . . . The training room is a classroom."

Ohkubo first came to SRJC with an undeclared major and "fell in love" with athletic training."

"I had thought about medical school but discovered this combines sports and medicine."

She earned her bachelor's degree in kinesiology at SSU in 2003 and went on to get her master's degree at San Jose State.

Being a adjunct employee the past two years did give her time to work as trainer for the SC Sol soccer club and SR Scorchers women's football team. She's worked for USA Volleyball and been athletic trainer at Montgomery High.

While carrying on the program established by Craighead, Ohkubo hopes to continue working with prep programs in the community.

"I'd like to see certified athletic trainers at each high school," she said. "That would give coaches a chance to coach."

Ohkubo will oversee a staff of two adjunct trainers and a group of five to 10 students. She'll be in the training room every day, sharing night and weekend events.

She is meeting with all SRJC coaches in a program that features 21 sports teams, as well as dance and cheerleading squads.

"This is a perfect setting for me with my family nearby," said Ohkubo, whose mother Kim lives in Rohnert Park, as does her sister, Amber.

"I go to work every day and love what I do," she said. "No two days are the same."

And she said blending her love of athletic training with a love of sports works well.

"Once an athlete, always an athlete," she said. "I'm still pumped up for every game."

Campbell was a four-year star guard at Point Arena -- 91-13 during her career there -- and a standout at SSU, which made the regional playoffs two of her four seasons.

Before to taking over as interim coach, she assisted Molly Goodenbour for one season. Campbell also is getting a master's from U.S. Sports Academy in sports coaching.

"Being full time, I feel I can really focus on building this program," she said. "It's different telling kids you want them to come here, but not being able to tell them you'll still be here."

She wants to continue the SRJC tradition of attracting local players, an area in which she wants to improve.

"I think (new A.D.) Jim Forkum will be a big help because as a dean he has more power and is so enthusiastic about the athletic program here."

Campbell knows a lot of talented student-athletes look outside Sonoma County.

"I want to attract local kids to start their education here, then move on," said Campbell. "Lots of kids say they're coming here then end up somewhere else.

"I like to keep it open because a lot of kids do go elsewhere then decide to come back," she said.

Campbell will be challenged in her first year as full-time head basketball coach -- the team lost eight of 11 starters.

She has thought about a coaching future at a four-year college but not for awhile.

"My family is in Annapolis (two hours away) and right now this is a good place to be."

You can reach Staff Writer Bruce Meadows at 521-5263 or bruce.meadows@pressdemocrat.

com.