AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Earlier this year, Amarillo College announced its return to intercollegiate athletics after being absent from the world of sports since the mid-1980’s. The Badgers will make their return to athletics in 2022 in the form of men’s baseball, men’s and women’s cross country/half-marathon and women’s volleyball.
AC officials said if those sports prove to do well, the possibility of expanding AC’s sports landscape in the future will be considered. Currently, AC is in the process of looking at applications and resumes from an impressive list of coaching candidates.
“We have received a great deal of interest from throughout the United States in those positions,” said Mark White, Executive Vice President of Amarillo College. “At this time, we’re going through those applications and resumes preparing to interview, and we should be hiring coaches in the next 60 days.”
AC was recently named one of the Top 5 community colleges out of 1,500 colleges nationwide by the Aspen Institute, capturing the Rising Star Award from the program, and the $100,000 prize that comes with it.
White said having a top-notch athletics program with state-of-the-art facilities will help AC add to its already blossoming prominence on a national scale.
“In our march to national prominence, this is just the next step to add to student life,” said White. “And to add to our reputation, to add to our enrollment, to add to the buzz about our college in the community.”
Speaking of community engagement, AC Advisory Board Member Keith Grays said the community is a big reason why AC was able to return to intercollegiate athletics.
“The community has already spoken in that it passed a bond referendum in 2019,” said Grays. “Which we know one of the most important aspects of this is to have facilities, as I just mentioned, with the Sod Poodles stadium, the parks that are here. We also have the Carter gym. So the taxpayers here, as far as a community perspective is concerned have already spoken.”
AC also spent significant time gathering input from surveys among members of the community including high school athletes, coaches and administrators and the support for AC athletics was significant.
Grays said in addition to the positive impact the move will have on the community, this development will also add to the quality of life for future AC students and athletes. Not only will this bring more recreational and economically stimulating activities to the city, but it will also give student athletes another avenue to further their educational and athletic abilities.
“It is an opportunity,” said Grays. “Very much so an opportunity for those young men and young women. Athletics come in all forms, shapes and fashions.”
Just like opportunity.