Tyler Junior College baseball players have not received scholarships to play baseball since the 2002 baseball season, but that has not stopped them from becoming successful over the years.
Head Coach Jon Groth has led the Apache baseball team since he started in 1993 receiving 7 All-Americans, 10 Academic All-Americian, 2 Conference MVPs, 48 All-Conference, 18 Academic All-Conference, with 24 former Apaches in Professional Baseball, and recently marking his 400th win.
“We gave away scholarships for ten years since I started coaching in 1993 and all throughout the 2002 season,” said Groth.
Baseball is the only sport at TJC that does not give scholarships away to the players.
“There are three divisions, division 1 gives full scholarships, division 2 is a partial scholarship that takes care of tuition, fees and books, and division 3 gives no athletic aid,” said athletic director Tim Drain.
The decision to stop giving away scholarships was made by the president of TJC at the time, Dr. Crow he was the administrator who decided to drop from the NJCAA Division 1 to NJCAA Division 3. Even though having to pay to play, baseball still wanted to continue to compete.
“Students who play in Division 3 cannot get scholarships to play. They are just like any other students. They get academic help, and pell grant help,” said Groth.
The process of getting scholarships awarded back to the players “would be a great gift or a large amount of money and the interest made off of that could award scholarships for players,” said Tim Drain.
Paying to play has not stop the Apaches from working hard toward their goal.
“I like playing in Tyler its fun and I like the atmosphere,” said sophomore pitcher Matt Kinard. “It would be nice to get a scholarship but it’s not a big deal, I have fun and there’s always another chance to get a scholarship to play at a University,” said Kinard.
Groth led the Apaches to their first National Championship in 2007 by qualifying for the playoffs, getting through the playoffs and having the most competitive conference level in America.
“Our goal is to represent TJC well and to do the best we can in terms of getting to the playoffs, and to represent a college to be proud of,” said Groth.
TJC recruits a large group of freshman and sophomores, with sophomores often moving on and playing for four- year universities.
Tryouts are held for those who want to play.
“We have three tryout days June 9, June 23, and July 7,” said Groth.
“My goal as a coach is to guide young men through life hoping to change their lives by helping them become better students, husbands and fathers,” said Groth.
For more information about the TJC Apache Baseball contact Coach Jon Groth at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit Tylerbaseball.com.