One of the first things on the agenda for new Calhoun Community College interim President Dr. Joe Burke is planning to improve the athletic program.
"I see athletics as being important to the college and the community and bringing the community together," said Dr. Joe Burke.
It was just last summer when the previous president announced an end to the athletic program at the end of the fiscal year in 2019.
However that decision did not sit well with students.
Right now there's only three sports at Calhoun Community College: baseball, softball and men and women's golf. The baseball coach is optimistic the program will go back to the way he remembers.
"It does touch you heart because you know as coaches you're doing the right thing and kids are graduating. But when it's not important to the people at the top, I don't think they realize the impact that the sports play in our kids," said Coach Mike Burns.
Baseball coach Mike Burns played the game he now coaches at Calhoun Community College. After coaching for 10 years he said he was disappointed when the athletic program was shut down.
"In order to be a good coach or have a good team, the recruiting is vital. So that probably stopped us for about 6 months of maybe 8 months," Burns said.
Janet Kincherlew-Martin with Calhoun said at one time the school had 6 sports teams. In 2000, the budget was cut around the state, so instead of laying off employees, the athletic program was cut. Later on, baseball, softball and golf came back.
"I think her thinking was those were the affordable ones to bring back. We have recruited a lot of local athletes which helps bring in their families and other supporters of the community," Janet Kincherlew-Martin said.
All athletes receive a full scholarship and with 60 athletes total and the cost sitting at $5,000 per student a year that adds up to one hefty dollar amount.
"We've re-done our gym. I'd love to see basketball and volleyball. Volleyball is huge in our area," Burns said.
Acting president Dr. Joe Burke said he wants to provide resources for the athletic program and believes it'll happen with time.
"We're working through the Calhoun foundation, corporate and individual sponsorship," Burkes said.
Other large expenses for the athletic program are travel. The athletic program is in the process of recruiting women for the golf team. Dr. Joe Burke has been interim President since the beginning of May.
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