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GCC considers full-time coaches


October 30, 2019


Ironwood — The Gogebic Community College Board of Trustees has begun to consider full-time coaches as a way to build sustainable sports programs with strong recruiting and more support for students.

The trustees on Tuesday approved 6-0 to change the volleyball coach job description to full time to help fill a vacant position that has cancelled the 2019-20 season. Board Vice-chair William Malloy was not present.

“This is the most functional way to ensure our volleyball team is moving forward and to demonstrate our commitment to athletics as a college,” said GCC President George McNulty.

The volleyball program started with the 2008-09 season, he said. The coach resigned a year ago and GCC hasn’t received one application for the part-time, stipend position since it was posted in January, he said.

There were 10 freshmen volleyball student-athletes here for the 2018-19 season, he said. Losing student-athletes costs the school in terms of tuition revenue but also in reputation, McNulty said.

The full-time position starts with a $35,600 annual salary and the job requires secondary duties that support the Lindquist Center and the athletic and student services departments, he said.

The next step is developing an athletic environment that will benefit the campus in the future, he said. A volleyball coach presents an immediate need but over five years the men’s and women’s basketball and softball coaching positions would also transition to full time.

“I think the phase in of full-time coaches is going to help us take that next step,” McNulty said. “We’re trying to serve our students better in every capacity and the development of athletics is part of that program. We really need to support the existing structure which I believe will help us to thrive in the future.”

A full-time coach is vital to developing a comprehensive sports program and will be able to recruit student-athletes locally, nationally and internationally to fill an ideal roster, he said. This sustainability and growth is not possible with a part-time position, he said.

The trustees approved job descriptions for two part-time coaching positions to better support the needs of students with the type of day-to-day interaction that is more than can be expected by one part-time head coach, McNulty said. The assistant coach offers effective student-athlete support while expanding the reach of each program’s recruiting efforts, he said.

“We need to make changes,” said Susan Beals, trustee and secretary. “We have been struggling with this for a long time.”

John Lupino, board chair, said the phase in of full-time coaches and the assistant coaches would benefit student athletes and the athletic programs would grow and become more competitive.

“This enriches the programs,” Lupino said. “Our programs would be much more vibrant with the numbers that we’d get.”

Robert Burchell, trustee, said the assistant coaching positions would be a smart move for the long-term. If the recruiting goals are fulfilled then the positions will pay for themselves and benefit the school.

“This is a good strategy for a school in an area that is losing its student base,” Burchell said.

Michael Boerman, director of the Lindquist Student Center and the athletic department, who was at the meeting, said assistant coaches create opportunities for interaction with student-athletes. Their presence addresses academic needs and fills an important part of the entire scholastic experience.

“It’s a comprehensive picture and having more support around them is the way to do that,” Boerman said.

The next step is for an external committee to review the job descriptions and program information in a consulting capacity, McNulty said. At some point in the future the board will consider action on the coaching positions themselves.

“As soon as possible,” McNulty said.

The board approved the cancelation of the GCC baseball program that was to have its first season this spring.

The decision was not easy but the program was not sustainable, McNulty said. A 56 game schedule with 90% road games is problematic considering the travel expectations and that students are taken away from school for long periods of time, he said.

There are students who started in fall with the intention of playing baseball in the spring, he said. When students are expecting to compete in a sport that doesn’t happen the school will honor the scholarships, he said.

“Their academic future wouldn’t be in question here but the odds are good that those students are going to transition on to other colleges because for many of them the primary reason why they are here as a student-athlete is to be a student but to also compete in their chosen sport,” McNulty said.

In other business, the board:

—Heard a report from Institutional Development and GCC Foundation.

—Approved an updated five-year campus master plan as a guideline for Capital outlay funding opportunities.

—Heard a report on internal education assessments for faculty improvements.

—Approved a flat rate tuition charge of $175 per credit for intercession courses that will run from Dec. 19 through Jan. 8, 2020.

—Approved three-year bids for snow removal and lawn care to Saari’s Lawn Service and Plowing

—Approved the athletic bus transportation contract with LSC coaches of Cloquet, Minnesota.


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