By Ted Waddell
LOCH SHELDRAKE September 25, 2001 Since taking over the helm as athletic director at Sullivan County Community College (SCCC) in the wake of former AD Jack Magers departure, Christopher DePew is racing full speed ahead to revitalize and expand the colleges athletic program.
My philosophy as athletic director is to make this a place that provides students with so many opportunities that they can never say theres nothing to do here, he said. My goal is to provide students and athletes with as many positive experiences as possible.
In recent years, the local rural community college with an urban flavor has seen an increase in freshmen enrollments, but had problems with getting students to re-up for a sophomore year. The common gripe was a lack of college owned housing that problem was partially fixed when SCCC purchased Campus Village and what was perceived to be a limited number of on-campus activities outside the classroom.
The college traditionally had a flag football league (a minimum of three teams is required to form a league), but in recent years finding enough players to field three teams has been a bit iffy.
DePew said that in addition to having sufficient flag footballers sign on the dotted line to have a league at the college, they selected several students from the league to participate in the Monticello Mens Football League, sort of the SCCC All-Americans.
While intramurals have been historically scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-4 p.m., the program has been expanded to Monday and Wednesday evenings from 5:30 p.m to 8 p.m.
DePew is looking at offering several new intramural programs: mens and womens volleyball leagues, self-defense, aerobics, seminars on different aspects of college life, CPR and first aid.
In addition, indoor softball, mens and womens indoor soccer leagues, and five-on-five basketball leagues for both sexes are in the planning stages.
The college has expanded its list of five intercollegiate athletics (mens basketball, womens basketball, womens volleyball, mens golf and womens softball) to include a couple of new athletic opportunities: mens and womens cross country teams.
The college is also considering creating a baseball team. Theres a tremendous amount of interest, but there are fiscal concerns, said DePew, and is kicking around the idea of establishing a womens soccer team.
Also on the horizon is establishing a NYS Coaching Certification Center at Paul Gerry Fieldhouse.
We have the biggest enclosed facility in the tri-state area and we want to make use of it, said DePew.
The SCCC Athletic Department is scheduling several events: a special wrestling card at the fieldhouse at the end of October in conjunction with the student activities office and hosting the annual High School Holiday Basketball Tourney. A high school cheerleading competition is planned for March 2002.
For the second year in a row, Sullivan will sponsor the Region XV Basketball Championships, scheduled for March 1-3, 2002 at the fieldhouse.
In addition, SCCCs new AD will chair the Region XV mens and womens basketball tourneys and serve on various Region XV and NJCAA committees.
They were extremely pleased with the outstanding job we did last year, said DePew.
The 2001-2002 mens basketball season kicks off Wednesday, November 7 at Queensborough Community College. The Generals first home game is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, November 16 against Telkyo Post University.
The womens hoops season begins on Sunday, January 13 at Manhattan CC. The Lady Generals will host Westchester CC on Thursday, January 17 for the first home game.
The SCCC womens volleyball team takes to the floor tonight at Ulster County Community College. The first home game is set for 6 p.m. Thursday night versus Dutchess Community College.
On Tuesday, October 2, the newly-minted SCCC X-C teams will attend the Delhi Invitational. They are scheduled to participate in several meets.
Chad Nykamp, 27, is making his collegiate coaching debut as head of the cross-country teams. He was an assistant cross-country coach and teacher at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, a Division III school.
Im looking to apply what I learned there here at Sullivan, he said. I know it takes a long time to build a successful program, and I plan to go slow.
Kyle Walter, 32, is SCCCs new womens basketball team coach, taking over from Dean Smith, who started the program two years ago as a part-timer,.
Walter graduated from Tri-Valley Central School in 1987, where he played basketball, baseball and football. While attending SCCC, he played guard under Ron Bernhardt, who now coaches the Sullivan West girls basketball team..
After finishing up his degree at Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, PA, where he played basketball and baseball, Walter worked at a variety of jobs. Walter is no stranger to the local sports scene: a couple of terms as assistant coach of the SCCC softball team (in 1990 and 2001), and nine years as a high school referee.
Everybody is going to measure themselves against the mens (basketball) program, said Walter. Ive seen a lot of these girls play (in local high schools), and I really think we can bring the womens program up to that level.