Tyler Junior College participates in every sport available in the district, except for one. Women’s softball is the only sport TJC has yet to participate in, but don’t hang-up that glove yet. Even though it has a long road to go, softball is on the drawing board.
Dr. Tim Drain, the director of Intercollegiate Athletics, fields calls throughout the year on which sports TJC offers to prospective student athletes.
“I get calls every day about our sports. Maybe one a year for swimming, two a year for track and field, but the most I’ve been getting are for women’s softball,” Dr. Drain said.
Since TJC does not currently have any of these sports, Dr. Drain can look to add one if there is a high demand.
“It can start anywhere. I have six men’s sports and five women’s sports. I can add another women’s sport,” Dr. Drain said.
Dr.Drain will determine a possible schedule of opponents and the sports feasibility. After that Dr.Drain will meet with Dr. Austin Lane, vice president of student affairs, and TJC Business Services, to discuss cost, the impact on the school, interest and conference rules.
One of the most important components is the budget. The money for the sport can come from state funding or the students themselves who are interested in the sport. If the sport attracts 30 new student athletes who do not receive scholarships, the sport will bring in new revenue from their tuition money.
Women’s soccer, as the youngest sport at TJC, had men’s soccer as a successful model to build on.
“With women’s soccer, I modeled the budget to men’s soccer and created a women’s scholarship budget,” Dr. Drain said.
Scholarship money can be determined by finding out what other schools award for scholarships. Other schools are willing to communicate about their budgets. They want new schools to compete against and stay competitive with when it comes to recruiting new talent.
With the fire from a new sport growing, the school needs someone to watch over it and build it up.
“Getting a coach is like any other job. You announce the opening and hire the most qualified person,” Dr. Drain said.
Coach Corey Rose is the women’s first soccer coach. Rose had never started a program before, but was not intimidated by being the first.
“I have been coaching for a while, so I knew what I wanted and started from the ground up,” Rose said.
A new coach has to make decisions on what he needs to develop the team. The coach will make decisions on uniforms, suggestions about the schedule, get equipment, and most importantly decide on a roster.
“After I had tryouts and decided on my roster, we had two weeks to practice before our first game,” Rose said.
While Rose and Dr. Drain both agree that any new sport needs at least one full year before competition, women’s soccer had three to four months from conception to their first game.
“Administration made this as easy as possible. We have a lot of quality people in administration. They know how to get things done, and that takes a lot of stress off the coaches so we can focus on our players,” Rose said.
With all the details worked out, the new sport must be presented to the president for approval.
“If the president of the college agrees with our proposal, then TJC has a new sport,” Dr. Drain said.