By Rob Potter
LOCH SHELDRAKE It’s official. The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament is coming to Sullivan County.
On Friday morning, Sullivan County Community College (SCCC) Director of Athletics Chris DePew was notified that the national hoops tourney will be played at SCCC’s Paul Gerry Fieldhouse in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
For the past 20 years, the event has been held at SUNY Delhi in neighboring Delaware County. SUNY Delhi will host the tourney for the final time in March 2010.
“This is great news,” DePew said shortly after being informed of the decision. “I am so excited about it.
“When we decided to officially submit a bid, we contacted people from around the county to help us,” he added. “I really appreciate all of them dropping what they were doing to work with us. They met with us almost every other day to prepare this proposal.”
The SCCC bid proposal included a 100-page paper report and a five-minute video. The video featured the SCCC campus as well as locations throughout the county, including the Villa Roma Resort Hotel in Callicoon, which will serve as the official host hotel for the tournament.
DePew served as Chairman of the Bid Proposal Executive Committee. Other members of the committee included:
Dr. Mamie Howard-Golladay, SCCC President; Russ Heyman, SCCC Board of Trustees; Terri Ward, Director/CEO of the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce; Roberta Byron-Lockwood, Director of the Sullivan County Visitors Association; Tim McCausland, President of the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development; Susan Jaffe, Vice-President of the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development; Dr. Ellen Galligan, SCCC Vice-President of Academic & Student Affairs; Elizabeth Kubenik, SCCC Vice-President for Administrative Affairs; Joe Isadore, SCCC Dean of Enrollment Management & Student Development; Cindy Bennedum, Executive Assistant to the SCCC President; Tom Ambrosino, SCCC Graphic Design Faculty; Herb Clark, Vice-President of the Sullivan County Visitor’s Association; and Georgia Lyons, SCCC Athletic Department Secretary.
DePew said he was originally told by the NJCAA that there would be a six-to-nine month window for officials to examine all of the bid proposals. But the NJCAA officials then changed that time window to one month because they wanted to make a final decision before summer began.
So DePew was happily surprised on Friday morning when he received the news that SCCC’s bid had been selected from the field of bids.
“We are so excited about the opportunity to host a tournament we have dominated over the years,” he said. “It will be great to have the national tournament here at Sullivan.”
Like DePew, Dr. Howard-Golladay is very pleased with the announcement.
“Number one, I am ecstatic about the decision,” she said. “Secondly, I am very proud of all of the members of the executive bid committee who worked so hard on this. It was truly a county-wide, team effort.”
Dr. Howard-Golladay noted that SCCC received support from the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce, Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development, Sullivan County Visitors Association, Sullivan County Legislature, state representatives and Congressman Maurice Hinchey for its bid to host the Division III national tournament.
“I am just so grateful and thankful for all of their efforts,” Dr. Howard-Golladay said.
Now that the tournament is coming to SCCC, a lot of work needs to be done.
“We now have some planning to do,” Dr. Howard-Golladay commented. “Of course, it helps that we have experience in hosting conference and regional basketball tournaments. I feel everything will go very well.”