The Region XIV basketball tournament was still two weeks away, but TJC Athletic Director Tim Drain was already busy preparing for the event.
He was getting credentials and passes ready for media, workers, players, etc. He was making sure every small detail was covered.
Drain and his staff are used to these kinds of preparations.
In the last calendar year alone, TJC has hosted regional tournaments for basketball and volleyball, as well as national tournaments in soccer and baseball.
“The region selects where they are going to have regional tournaments,” Drain said. “The national tournaments go through committees. We run those in conjunction with the city of Tyler. They use different roads to get to the same place.”
Both the region that selects the regional sites and the committees that select where the national events are held have been impressed by not only TJC’s facilities but also the way the school puts on the events.
That is what keeps them coming back again. And again.
Planning for the events begins weeks, sometimes even months in advance. Drain and his staff are always trying to make the next one bigger and better. In fact, he sometimes begins preparing for the next tournament while the current event is still going on.
“When the tournament ends, I will already start working on little things for the next one.” Drain said. “As far as the region basketball tournament goes, a few months ago, we started working on some little things – making sure UT-Tyler is still on board, the tournament manual has been sent out and the website has been set up.”
It takes all of Drain’s staff including coaches, to pull the events off; from coordinating practice facilities to making sure all of the equipment is provided.
This year’s Region XIV basketball tournament is hosted by TJC but will be contested at UT-Tyler because the conference wanted a neutral site for the event. TJC is still considered the host school.
One of the biggest events TJC has hosted in the last few years has been the NJCAA College World Series at Mike Carter Field. This will be the third year in a row that the school has hosted the tournament and organizers before this year’s event if it gets to host it for another three years as it is on a three-year rotation.
“Our season builds toward our district tournament and then climaxes with the World Series,” Head Baseball Coach Doug Wren said. “And these guys want to win it on their home field after missing out on it last season.”
The event – that features seven teams from outside of Texas – is a big boost to the school and the city of Tyler, as are the other national events that the school hosts.
“It is a big way for us to give back,” Drain said. “Take the baseball world series. You are going to have eight teams, of which seven of them are going to come from out of Texas. The closest one from out of Texas is Illinois. They are all coming down here to Tyler for a minimum of four days and a maximum of seven or eight days.
“They are staying in our hotels, eating our food, shopping at our stores. The economic impact of these tournaments, the national tournaments in particular, is great. It is a feather, not only in TJC’s cap, but also the city of Tyler’s cap.”
In addition to the Feb. 4-8 regional basketball tournament and the College World Series in May, TJC will also host the women’s tennis national championship tournament in May.
Home field advantage is another factor TJC enjoys when national tournaments are held at the school. The players use it as motivation.
Apache baseball player Justin Monsour said that the World Series is on their home turf and the team doesn’t want other people playing on it. That is why the team is pushing to get back to the World Series.
In November, the men’s soccer team came just short of winning a national title in front of its home fans, only to lose on penalty kicks in the championship game.
Drain enjoys putting the events on for several reasons, but once they are over, he is ready for them to be finished.
“I enjoy showing us off,” Drain said. “I enjoy showing TJC off. It is always a sense of pride. It is a lot of hours and it is a lot of work, and I am beat down when that thing is over.”