Newton Chelette Named City of Lancaster's Citizen of the Year

Posted: June 27, 2014

Newton receiving award from R. Rex Parris
Newton Chelette receiving award from Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris

Newton Chelette, Antelope Valley College's Dean of Kinesiology, Athletics and Visual and Performing Arts as well as the Athletic Director, was honored as the City of Lancaster's 2014 Citizen of the Year.

The honor, which was presented by Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris, was bestowed for Chelette's "dedication and numerous contributions to AVC and the City of Lancaster.

In what turned into a very emotional ceremony, Chelette discussed the honors he and his family have been blessed with the last couple of years. Vice Mayor Marvin Crist, instead of speaking himself as to why Chelette deserved the honor, instead read a letter from Chelette's daughter Amanda, who was unable to attend the ceremony. Attending the ceremony were Newton's fiance Lana Thomas, son Brady Chelette, AVC Superintendent/President Ed Knudsen and various members of the AVC faculty and staff.

Since coming to Lancaster and Antelope Valley College in 1989, Chelette's impact in the community has been continuous.

After 17 record breaking seasons as the Marauder Men's Basketball coach, Chelette moved into the Athletic Director's chair. In 2006, he was named Dean of both the Kinesiology, Athletics and Dance and the Visual and Performing Arts divisions.

During Chelette's tenure, the Marauder Athletic landscape has been upgraded to some of the best facilities in the state, including refurbishment of the Marauder Gym. As a result, in large part, to his successful efforts as co-chairman of the Passage of Measure R Committee, a complete athletic state-of-the-art athletic complex was also completed. Brent Carder Marauder Stadium was torn down and rebuild to boast a FieldTurf playing surface and a Mondo track, while new baseball and softball stadiums were built complete with FieldTurf playing surfaces and modern media facilities.

Each year, Chelette, along with members of the Division, donate money so that he can buy locally grown animals at the AV Fair livestock auction. After butchering locally, the meat is donated to the Lancaster Community Shelter.

Chelette spearheaded a fund raising effort for the American Cancer Society's Coaches vs. Cancer program that raised over $30,000 in the last two years. The amount raised by AVC was over four times the amount any other single California Community College athletic department donated.

Chelette arranged for the honoring of Mt. San Jacinto Baseball coach Steve Alonzo, who has two children deployed in Afghanistan, as well as all veterans in the community at a Marauder Baseball game.

Chelette has recently announced he, the coaches and staff are currently working to have each sport doing something each year to “give something back to the community we serve.”

He is on the Board of Directors for the Antelope Valley Boys and Girls Club as well as the Los Angeles County Sheriff League. In 2011, he was named director of the year by the LACSL and has been named to the Criminal Justice Commission for the City of Lancaster by the mayor R. Rex Paris.


Chelette is the President this year of the California Community College Management Council and is also a voting member of the CCCAA Executive Board.
Chelette’s election as President highlights 25 years that he has represented Antelope Valley College and Marauder Athletics in some capacity at the state level. Most recently, Chelette was honored California Community College Athletic Directors Association's Athletic Director of the Year and last year with the CCCADA Honoring our Own Award. The award is given annually by the CCCADA for "exemplary service" for the association.

He served two years as Vice Chair of the Management Council and is President of the Pacific Division of the American Football Conference. He is Past President of the Foothill Athletic Conference, California Community College Men's Basketball Coaches Association and the California Community College Athletic Director Association.

In 2001, he was inducted into the High Desert Men's Basketball Coaches Association's Hall of Fame Coaches.


In 2004, before giving up the basketball head coaching reigns in 2006, Chelette, led the Marauders to the state championship final four for the first time since 1956. At AVC, Chelette brought ten conference titles in 17 seasons, and has been named coach of the year seven years, including four straight in a row. He coached seven straight conference players of the year, and his Marauder teams have competed in the playoffs 16 straight seasons and hosted playoff games in 13 of those 16 years. In 1995-96, 1996-97, and 1998-99 Chelette's teams were undefeated in conference play, the only Marauder teams to achieve perfection in conference. In the 2000-01 season, he became the winningest coach in Marauder basketball history, recording his 272th win against Rio Hondo, and moving past the man he replaced at AVC, Bob Murray. In 2008, he was inducted into the California Community College Men's Basketball Coaches Association's Hall of Fame, and March 14, 2008 was proclaimed as "Newton Chelette Day" by his hometown of Iowa, LA.


"I came to AVC a few months after Newton and it's been a tremendous 25 year ride on the court and off," said AVC Professor and Sports Information Director Glenn Haller, who himself was recently commended by the County of Los Angeles for 'dedicated service to the affairs of the community and for the civic pride demonstrated by numerous contributions for the benefit of all the citizens of Los Angeles County.'

"After his devotion to his family, the thing that has always been in the forefront is his dedication to the community we serve. I think it started with the local youth sports as well as putting a basketball team on the court that the community could want to call their own and take pride in.

"He work tirelessly on Measure R to make sure that the community had the finest facilities to use, and he got us on board with him to donate each year to the livestock auction, which as he often points out, helps out those who raise the animals, and then again those in the community who are in need.

"His work in making the Coaches vs. Cancer event the best in the state is typical of Newton - highly motivated to help the community and highly successful.
"The honor is very deserved, and in my opinion, late in coming."