In the past few years the college’s athletic department has undergone some massive changes. Sports like tennis, golf, track and cross country were discontinued after being a part of the college for decades.
This shift to a smaller athletic department has raised some questions about the direction of athletics at the college. Change is often met with resistance, but the current and condensed athletic department is optimistic about the future of the athletic department at the college.
Athletic Director, Randy Stange, says he feels good about the current state of JCCC athletics, despite the reduced size.
“You work with what you have, and I certainly am pleased and proud of the sports that we do have,” said Stange.
The department does not have any specific target goals at the moment, but they have a set list of priorities. Education comes first, followed by the needs of the teams and community needs.
Stange said he has been impressed by the academic work of student athletes at the college and is looking forward to continued success in that area.
According to Vice President of Student Success and Engagement, Randy Weber, recent cuts have allowed for the college to create a more viable financial situation within the athletic department. Weber said that the money from sports which were cut has been reallocated to the college’s general fund, where it is being used to pay for equipment, recruiting and other necessary things in the athletic department.
“Our ability to allocate resources to meet program’s perceived needs is met now,” said Weber. “That was a big driver in the decisions that were made.”
Changes have not only been seen in the number of programs on campus, but also the facilities that the teams use. Both Weber and Stange believe that improvements to the facilities, like the gym’s new scoreboard and a single athletic event center, will allow the athletic department to continue connecting with the community.
“We’re going to have just such first-rate facilities to share and to use for our student athletes and to share with our community and I want to do that to its fullest,” said Stange “That’s such an anchor for our college to be involved in the community in that way.”
Co-locating all the sports fields to one location and adding a concession stand and restrooms will give the college the opportunity to host more community events, which was not always possible before.
“Each one of the sports that we have, I really am asking them to be not only successful on the court and in the classroom but also want them to be invested in our community,” said Stange.
Despite of all the changes that have occurred, the athletic department is in a healthy place now with a bright future ahead.
“Athletics can be the front porch for a number of people to be on campus who may never step on the campus [otherwise],” said Stange.
It may not look the same as it did just a few years ago, but the athletics department is still committed to serving the college, its student athletes and the community.