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SCCC Athletic Director Chris DePew

Whither He Goest?

By Ted Waddell
LOCH SHELDRAKE — June 10, 2005 – Chris DePew, Sullivan County Community College’s athletic director and head coach of the men’s basketball team, is between the proverbial rock and a hard place.
For the past few days, rumors have been floating around the local community that the two-year college’s administration recently gave DePew an ultimatum: step down as AD and keep running the Generals, or give up leading the nationally-ranked hoopsters and keep the job as head of SCCC’s athletic department.
Adding fuel to the rumor mill, word on the street was that a student/faculty-driven petition had been circulated calling for DePew to keep wearing both hats – as the college’s athletic director and men’s basketball coach. Reportedly, the petition was signed by several hundred students – representing about 30 percent of the student body – as well as faculty members.
DePew was contacted several times regarding the rumored situation, but steadfastly replied, “No comment at this time.”
Several administrators and students spoke about the unfolding situation, but only on the condition of complete anonymity.
According to these informed sources, the move to unseat DePew started at the top, even while the administration expected him to prepare a national championship basketball team for someone else to coach.
The rumored decision has a lot of folks around the county scratching their heads. Under DePew’s leadership, the Generals, who compiled a 27-7 record during the 2004-2005 season, have a couple of National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-Americans, expect to return of about 90 percent of the squad for the 2005-2006 season and could be ranked very high in the nation in the NJCAA Preseason Poll.
According to the jobs available posting listed by SCCC’s Office of Human Resources, the handwriting appears to be on the wall. As of yesterday, the full-time position of “Head Men's Basketball Coach” is up for grabs.
The posting reads, in part, “Pending budget approval… Reporting to the director of athletics, the head men’s basketball coach is responsible for the overall operation of our nationally-ranked NJCAA Division III men’s basketball program as well as supporting part-time varsity coaches and players of other varsity sports…”
In addition, the position of head coach for the men’s basketball team is being advertised on the SCCC Web site,
The message to DePew from the college’s administration seems pretty clear: stay on as AD, but give up coaching the Generals.
Dave Thomson, Sullivan’s Dean of Enrollment Management, was the only administrator willing to talk on the record about the situation.
His take on the student-driven petition and DePew’s rumored job switch?
“Some students expressed concern over Chris’s [rumored] departure from the program… it reflected some heavy concern… but I think they took it to mean total departure, which isn’t true,” Thomson said of the petition.
“The administration – subject to budget stuff – is thinking about shifting over to a full-time basketball coach with responsibility for the program as well as recruitment in a variety of sports,” added Thomson, who is a familiar face at SCCC home games at Paul Gerry Fieldhouse. “That’s what we’re playing with… it’s not a final thing.”
Currently, DePew is paid as an AD with an additional stipend to run the men’s basketball program.
“Chris would continue on as athletic director… I think he’s done a pretty good job as athletic director,” Thomson said.
Would giving up his position as basketball coach mean a pay cut for DePew?
“Quite frankly, that’s something we’re going to have to discuss,” replied Thomson.
“I hope I don’t get fired for what I’ve said so far,” he added. “I think it’s a move to expand the [athletic] program and help us out in the recruitment in other varsity sports… as a new position, it has to be evaluated.”
Thomson stressed that, as of now, nothing formal has been decided.
“It isn’t a done deal,” he said. “It’s not tied with a neat little bow.”

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