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More than two dozen coaches have applied for the vacant Paris Junior College women’s basketball coaching job, PJC president Pam Anglin says.
“We have an outstanding pool of applicants and will begin interviews shortly and hope to have someone hired by the end of the month,” she said Monday.
Sean LeBeauf resigned last month as the Lady Dragons’ head coach to accept a job as assistant coach for the University of Arizona women’s basketball team.
The college came close to disbanding the program, voting 5-3 on May 20 to drop women’s basketball, but quickly reconsidered and voted unanimously four days later to keep it.
Also, Lance Noble — head coach of both the men’s and women’s soccer teams — notified Anglin on Monday that he is remaining at PJC.
Noble had given Anglin his letter of resignation 11 days earlier, citing the need to help take care of his mother in Dallas, following the untimely death of his father.
“He notified me today that he and his siblings had arranged for care of their mother and he could come back. We are very happy he will be back as our soccer coach and can coach the student athletes he recruited,” Anglin said.
Noble oversaw PJC’s first season of soccer in 2012, leading the men’s team into the playoffs, where they lost to Tyler Junior College, which went on to win the National Junior College Athletic Association championship.
PJC’s board of regents has its June meeting next Monday at 7 p.m. in the Founder’s Room of the administration building. The last item on the agenda is an executive session in which action will be taken on retirements, resignations and new employees. Anglin indicated she won’t have a new Lady Dragons’ basketball coach hired by then.
The June 24 agenda follows:
Baseball player Matt Johnson of Plano led the honors for the baseball team with the Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence — given for achieving a perfect 4.00 GPA on a 4.00 scale.
A ninth player was signed Monday to a women’s basketball scholarship at Paris Junior College, school president Pam Anglin says.
And the search for a new head coach continues for the Lady Dragons, who got new life on May 24 when PJC regents unanimously rescinded a 5-3-1 vote of four days earlier to kill the women’s basketball program.
Before resigning to accept an assistant coaching job at the University of Arizona, PJC women’s coach Sean LeBeauf offered scholarships to five members of last season’s Lady Dragons squad, plus three players who will transfer from other programs.
Monday’s signing by assistant coach Shakira Nettles is a player from the Detroit, Mich., area, Anglin said.
Last season’s freshmen who have signed NJCAA letters-of-intent for next season are Shanice Vaughan, a 5-8 guard from Brooklyn, N.Y.; Adriene Small, a 6-2 center from Blackwood, N.J.; Ashley Johnson, a 5-8 guard from Marrero, La.; Maeghan Scott, a 5-8 guard from Pasadena, Texas; and Lea Holt, a 5-7 guard from Fort Worth, Texas.
The three transfers are ChyAnna Cunningham, a 5-10 forward from Tupelo, Miss., who was at North Carolina ATT last season; Shannon DeFoe, a 6-1 center from Romulus, Mich., who was at Indiana State University last season; and Kamari Talley, a 5-11 forward from Camden, N.J., who was at Daytona State last season.
Anglin said she has talked to several coaches interested in the women’s head coaching job. She said she will continue to take applications through this week.
“We’ve got Shakira here, and I would typically ask them (applicants for the head coaching job) to consider keeping her. It gives some continuity,” Anglin said.
Anglin said she wants someone with a master’s degree, “someone who knows their basketball, enforces the college’s policies and procedures, and becomes part of the PJC family.”
PJC’s school year ended on May 9, and players scattered. During the tension-filled period two weeks ago when the program’s future was in doubt, Nettles stayed in communication with the players, Anglin said.
There was no thought about discontinuing women’s basketball until after LeBeauf notified her he was leaving, Anglin said.
In late April, when she presented LeBeauf’s impending departure to the regents, Anglin said, she reminded them that money for education from the State of Texas continues to dwindle, while athletic expenditures continue to escalate.
“I said before I advertise this position, I need to know what you want to do. If we need to reconsider, now is the time.”
At that point, she said, the board asked her to put the matter on the May 20 agenda as a public agenda item.
On May 20, Anglin presented the board with the option of discontinuing women’s basketball, effective immediately. Federal (Title IX) regulations require schools to offer the same number of athletic programs for women and men, and Anglin told the board that could happen by abolishing men’s golf or adding women’s golf.
“Athletics are paid from auxiliary enterprise fund revenue, which includes bookstore, cafeteria and residence halls,” Anglin told the board.
“With the increased cost of operating athletic teams and revenue remaining constant, it will be difficult to cover the cost of athletic teams,” she added.
Replacing women’s basketball with women’s golf would save $54,000 a year because of the fewer number of scholarships involved in golf ($36,000 opposed to $90,000 in basketball).
Add to that the $80,000 in salaries and benefits that would no longer be paid for the women’s head coach and assistant coach, and that increases the savings to $134,000 a year, Anglin said, since the men’s golf coach would also be asked to be the women’s golf coach.
No reporters were present for the May 20 meeting, but Anglin said “there was a lengthy discussion that night in open session. Anyone who had been there would have heard and understood the whole situation, and also why there was a quick decision after the meeting to revisit the decision.”
According to the minutes of the May 20 meeting, “after a lengthy discussion,” there was a motion by Carlton Grant, seconded by Berdie Gibson, to continue the women’s basketball program. Frankie Norwood joined them in voting for the motion, which was defeated by 5-3-1.
Voting “no” were Curtis Fendley, Ginna Bowman, Daigone Garner, Roma Street and Ann Wyche. Louise Taylor did not vote.
After more discussion, Bowman made a motion that Paris Junior College discontinue women’s basketball. Wyche seconded the motion, which passed by the same 5-3-1 vote as the previous motion failed.
“One thing for sure, every voice was heard that evening, and that became truly evident by Friday’s vote,” Anglin said in an email communication with eParisExtra.com.
“After it was over, they said, ‘Did we think of everything? This is a serious decision. Is there more there?’ They asked to revisit it, to put together an agenda for Friday morning.”
The one-item agenda for Friday’s 11 a.m. special meeting of the regents was posted Tuesday morning, the PJC president said.
“So it’s not final,” Anglin responded Tuesday afternoon in response to a call from eParisExtra.com.
“What I think is going to happen on Friday, they’re going to rescind the motion and then open it up for more discussion,’ she said.
“In the meantime, I’m going to gather information on all our athletic programs and also work on the budget for next year in athletics to see where we are financial-wise in covering everything that the coaches have turned in.”
Friday’s special meeting lasted less than three and a half minutes.
“As a board, we always have to look at all aspects of everything that’s going on at the school,” said Fendley, the board president. “Anytime there’s a change in the program, either academics or sports – and in particular in looking at sports – funding is always an issue that you have to take into consideration.”
Fendley noted that there is no state funding for athletics, and neither can tax money, student tuition or fees be used. That leaves as the only source or revenue the gate receipts and profits from dormitory operations, cafeteria and bookstore.
Then, Fendley recommended that the board authorize Anglin “to advertise for a coach for the women’s basketball team.”
At the same time, Fendley said Anglin should stress to all applicants and to all athletes the school’s mission statement on athletics, which stresses excellence in academics as well as discipline, sportsmanship and “the highest standards of behavior.”
At that point, Norwood made a motion to rescind the board’s action of Monday night, Gibson seconded it, and all nine trustees voted “aye.”
Then Fendley asked, “So, on the motion I just discussed, how do you feel about that?”
Taylor, the board’s vice president, said: “I so move.”
Gibson seconded the motion, and again the vote was unanimous, and the women’s basketball program at PJC was back in business.
“I think on Monday night, the board made the best business decision for PJC. Friday morning, they made the best decision for the city of Paris, and that decision was unanimous,” Anglin said last week.
“I think the board all received input. I think they are doing what they feel like the community wants,” Anglin said.
“You know, I played college basketball myself (at Grayson College),” Anglin said. “But, you know, people don’t follow women’s basketball around here. Our men’s basketball program gets more support than all our other sports combined. The only sports we are able to charge admission to are volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball,” Anglin said.
“Our gate receipts are about $1,200 a year, so we basically have to pay for the program out of auxiliary funds – which is dormitories, the cafeteria and the bookstore. We have to increase occupancy in our residence halls this next year, which increases residence hall revenue and cafeteria revenue,” she said.
“When we started our booster club, we used that money to buy our uniforms, and we do that in alternate years in different sports, so that over a period of three years, everybody gets new uniforms. We’ve not reduced any of our athletic budgets, costs have continued to go up.”
In looking at sports, a major consideration, Anglin said, is increasing the opportunities for scholarships “for more local kids,” and few area high school basketball players – either male or female – have played for PJC in recent years.
But women’s golf probably would not have been any better in that regard, she said.
In reality, Anglin said, had the regents’ decision to abolish women’s basketball stood, to keep the men’s and women’s sports balanced they probably would have also killed the men’s golf program rather than add women’s golf.
“Right now, we are looking at a cut of between $500,000 and $700,000 (a year) from the state. There’s no additional tax money, so we’re having to look at everything,” she said.
The men’s basketball coach, Chuck Taylor, has asked for a $10,000 increase for the 2013-2014 year, Anglin said, and if he gets that, the women’s program has to increase to the same level to stay in compliance with Title IX requirements.
PJC is not alone in its frustration of escalating expenses in athletics, Anglin noted. Twice a year, she meets with presidents of the other junior colleges in Region XIV, “and we’ve looked at how we can reduce costs,” she said.
“Well, everybody agreed to give this many scholarships, but what we run into every time is Trinity Valley won’t go along. They balk at it,” she said.
Trinity Valley, sitting there with a “loaded” program, isn’t interested in parity, she observed, “because there’s pressure on all of us to win.”
By voting to continue the women’s basketball program, Anglin said, “This says we want to be competitive – but not at all cost. We want to do it the right way, and we want our athletes to be good students as well.”
LeBeauf was a special one-of-a-kind coach and it will be difficult finding someone “that is as strong discipline-wise as he was,” Anglin added.
Several times, LeBeauf cut quality players who failed to live up to the school’s standards, “and at times it took its toll on him,” she said.
“There’s more to it than them just being good athletes. They have to be students. Our state funding for the academics side is based on students’ success, so we can’t afford to have someone here for two years, giving them a full ride and them not graduating.”
By CHARLES RICHARDS
PJC baseball coach Deron Clark announced Thursday that two more of his players have signed with four-year schools to continue their careers. Clark is flanked by left-handed pitcher Nick Rodgers (left) and right-handed pitcher Alex Bissacca. Rodgers will play for Newman (Kan.) University and Bissacca for Sam Houston State. (PJC Photo)
Paris Junior College men’s basketball coach Chuck Taylor announced Thursday that five of his players have signed to play with four-year schools next fall. They are Morris Mitchell, St. Mary’s, San Antonio; Mike Harmon, NEState of Tallequah, Okla.; Anthony Adams, Texas A&M-Commerce; Antonio Arnold, Oklahoma Baptist; and Eddie Leal, Texas A&M-Commerce. (PJC Photo)