South Puget Sound Community College announced today that they have dropped softball from their roster of sports offered and will be adding a volleyball program beginning in the fall of 2016.
The announcement ends a tumultuous period in SPSCC softball history. Success came for the program in the 90’s and they were the runners-up for the NWAACC championship in 1992.
But more recently, the team practiced on a neglected campus field that was more often than not a mess due to the weather and they played most of their games across town at The RAC. The 2012 season was cancelled due to a lack of players and since returning in 2013, the Clippers posted a 3-56 record and were outscored 740 to 217. This season came to an abrupt end after an 0-10 start.
While I hate to see a program get the axe, this move makes sense. With the cancellation of the 2015 season, the softball team was left with no coach, no players and no facility. The team was only a team in theory making it very easy to drop. SPSCC will save money on field rental and equipment with the volleyball team and they can likely charge admission to games.
My only reservation comes from the fact that the two established college volleyball teams in town have found very little success historically and if the Saint Martin’s and Evergreen teams have not been able to recruit from a traditionally strong group of local high school players, what makes anybody think that SPSCC can?
Here is the full press release from South Puget Sound:
SPSCC Athletics to Launch Volleyball Program
For the first time in 23 years, South Puget Sound Community College Athletics is adding a new intercollegiate sport: volleyball. SPSCC Clipper Volleyball will take to the court for the first time during the fall 2016 season.
“When I was hired, I was given the task of helping to lead a rejuvenation of the department; to not just field teams but to field quality teams in both character and in talent,” SPSCC Director of Athletics Nick Schmidt said. “No one can dispute the quality of talent in Thurston County. With that success came numerous players moving on to college outside of our local area; now we will be able to provide an avenue for those players to stay home.”
Last year, five Thurston County high schools made their respective state volleyball tournaments, with Tumwater winning the 2A state championship and Capital finishing as the 3A runner-up.
Clipper Volleyball will be the eighth team competing in the Northwest Athletic Conference West Region, replacing Clark College, which moves to the South Region at the beginning of this competition year. Schmidt said a coaching search will begin soon, with the ultimate goal of hiring a coach in late fall 2015. That will allow the new coach time to start recruiting in January and play a direct role in all elements associated with starting a program.
“Wanting to make the ‘right hire’, I’ll be consulting with people in the local volleyball community, NWAC and NCAA as we begin the search process,” Schmidt said. “I want to make sure we bring on someone who will not only be a great leader and role model to our players, but someone who can also lay the foundation for a successful program.”
This move follows the decision of SPSCC Athletics to discontinue its intercollegiate softball program, effective immediately. Schmidt served notice to the NWAC Executive Board of the decision on Aug. 5.
“While the overall history of our softball program should never be forgotten, recent history unfortunately left it in an extremely unstable situation,” Schmidt said. “This move will reenergize Clipper Athletics as well as bring more athletic events to campus, allowing us to better engage the students and supporters of SPSCC. I won’t rule out eventually bringing the program back, but it was time that we moved in a new direction.”
For more information about SPSCC Clipper Athletics, visit spscc.edu/campus-life/athletics. Follow Clipper Athletics on Facebook by clicking here or on twitter at @spscc_athletics.