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Finding first-year coach proves challenging for TJC

Tyler Junior College has a Rose.

Four players was all that new TJC head women’s soccer coach had when he was hired in April 2008. The rest would fall into place.

The Lady Apaches had 21 women on their roster at the beginning of the season.

Men’s soccer coach Steve Clements first met Corey Rose four years ago while the two were coaching a soccer camp together that was being held at Pat Hartley Field.

Clements had briefly discussed and mentioned the possibility of a women’s team at TJC for a few years when Rose was first helping with teaching the camps. When the opening came up in early 2008, Clements’ first call was to Rose, who had been teaching at Belhaven College in Mississippi. Having taught the camps for a few years, Rose was familiar with the area and liked the idea of coming to Tyler.

“I loved the campus and the area of Tyler. I knew it would be a good fit,” Rose said.

However he said leaving Belhaven College was not an easy task.

“It was hard leaving because I had my best recruiting class coming in,” Rose said.

Rose’s old team was off to a 5-0 start. The Apaches started off the year 2-1-1. The record at the start of the season doesn’t often tell the whole story. Even with his best recruiting class coming in at Belhaven, Rose believes if the two teams were to play that TJC would win.

“It would be a close game, but in the end the Tyler team’s depth would be too much to overcome,” Rose said.

Getting the talent to TJC in four and a half months was difficult but Rose and his staff did what normal college coaches do – they network. Captain Ashley Wall is from Miami; she said she was referred to the school by one of the coaches.

Wall said that “[Assistant Coach Handy] was one of the first who mentioned TJC.”

Rose knows that players like Wall are not common and it can be challenging to recruit them.

“You get lucky,” Rose said. “Those types of players do not normally fall into your lap.”

Rose was lucky in that aspect but he believes none of the team’s success this year is due to luck. He attributes the wins to hard work and competitiveness.

Navarro College looks to be the toughest competition in reaching the National Tournament but Rose

believes if they are healthy they will be there.

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