By Ted Waddell
LOCH SHELDRAKE September 21, 2001 For 32-year-old Christopher DePew, being named Athletic Director of Sullivan County Community College (SCCC) is a dream come true.
He came to Sullivan in August 1998 as director of athletic facilities, intramurals and recreation.
A year later the Kerhonkson native took over as an instructor and coach within the department after John Webster retired. He served as coach of the womens softball team and assistant basketball coach under Will Brown, who also came to SCCC in August 1998. Brown recently departed for an assistants slot at SUNY Albany, a Division I college.
After Jack Mager announced that he was leaving for greener pastures, DePew applied for the job. Mager accepted the ADs position at Sullivan in Jan. 1998.
I was thrilled to death, he said of learning hed been tabbed for the ADs slot. Its always been my dream job.
In addition to taking over the helm at the athletic department, DePew is serving as interim coach of the Generals, SCCCs mens basketball team.
The nationally recognized team, racked up NJCAA Division titles in 1992, 1995 and 1996. Since then, NJCAA titles have been a bit sparse, but the Generals always seemed to be in the running for the championship trophy.
Asked what it was like to work for Mager and coach Brown, DePew demonstrated he has a knack for diplomacy.
It was interesting, he replied. Jack and Will both had their disagreements with the people next door now and again about differences in philosophy. It was silly stuff like where money should be spent.
DePew said after spending several seasons of hoops with Brown, they developed a close friendship, both on and off the court.
He always kept me well informed about everything he had on his plate, added DePew. We confided in each other.
His goal was to be at the highest level of basketball as a coach, he said. My goals were a little different (because) Im from this area...my wife and I recently purchased a house in Kerhonkson, and were planning to start a family.
DePew said the search for a new coach of the mens basketball team is on, fueled by the stated desire of the college president to get the job filled as soon as possible.
We want to fill it as quickly as we can, and yet were not going to just throw somebody in there without really taking a look at where theyre coming from and what theyre going to do for us, he said.
DePew said that as acting coach, he expects to get out of the ADs office and pace the sidelines in addition to getting the team up and running for the 2001-2002 season.
According to Sullivans newly minted AD, the college is looking at three very qualified applicants for the mens basketball coaching slot: prospective coaches from Oakland, CA; Philadelphia and Smallwood (yep, thats the Smallwood right around the block) have all tossed their ties into the ring.
Asked how the colleges flagship sport is shaping up, DePew said that after Brown announced he was jumping ship for a Div. I institution, We lost some very quality kids that would have made the big difference in helping us win the championship this year.
He said that prior to Browns letting folks know he was headed out the door, the mens basketball program had a recruiting list of about 35 players who had expressed serious interest in taking to the floor under the Generals banner.
We were trying to whittle that down to about twenty, added DePew.
After word of Browns departure hit the streets, several top prospects decided to go to other schools because of the uncertainty about what was going on.
DePew said one of the big losses was a player chosen by an out-of-county daily newspaper as its Player of the Year, but somebody got their hands on him, and he decided to go to Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).
Sullivans new coach is confident the Generals will be competitive this year, despite the exodus.
Were not going to be as big as weve been in the past, but were stronger, more experienced and a little more athletic, he said, in sizing up the new stable of horses.
DePew said the 2001-2002 edition of the team will feature five returnees, including two starters: Shiron Brown and Henry Butler. Also slated to don uniforms are returning subs Bryon Evans and Kareem Morgan.
While Davon Wilson didnt suit up last year, he practiced and traveled with the squad and is expected to earn a uniform this season.
We brought in eleven or twelve kids who are going to keep us on the level we are expected to be at, added DePew.
According to DePew, Julian Dawson intended to look elsewhere, but has enrolled at the college and is interested in playing.
Julian is the brother of star bucketeer Justin Dawson, both of whom racked up a ton of points at Monticello High School.
Because of his size and pedigree, Julian will probably be with us this year, said DePew.
Note: In part two of this story, DePew talks about his philosophy as athletic director, newly hired staff and expanding the department. Look for part two next week in the Democrat.