OC athletics has a growth spurt

Olympic College used to have a plethora of sports — from basketball to wrestling to football — until the budget axe fell in the 1970s and early ’80s.

That left the school with only five options for student-athletes to part of — volleyball, basketball and softball for the women and basketball and baseball for the men.

On Wednesday, OC athletic director Barry Janusch announced that the school is going to add four new sports teams to the mix with mens and womens soccer coming in the fall of 2004 and mens and womens golf coming in the spring of 2005.

“Five sports to me doesn’t seem that many,” Janusch said, noting he surveyed students and high school coaches and athletic directors to see what should be added. “Soccer seems like a natural, golf seems like a natural because of our facilities. It will give us more of a collegiate atmosphere with more student-athletes running around. It’s good for the student body. And I want to see some more trophies around here.”

Sports has been part of the OC tradition since the school started in 1946 as a charter member of the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges, which now has 36 schools in Washington and Oregon counted among its membership.

The number of athletes on campus is projected to increase from 80 to 130 while the athletics budget also will increase from $200,000 to $255,000. Janusch is proposing having about 10-12 members on the golf team under a single coach for the men and women.

The soccer teams would have about 20 players on each team.

“I’ve projected the added cost will be about $55,000 and that’s everything — scholarships, field rental, insurance and coaches,” Janusch said, adding the full budget proposal will be made next spring. He’s already received some funding from the student government to get started on hiring the coaches he’ll need.

“I want to get the soccer coaches in place by the middle of November and I could probably wait until the end of January on the golf position,” Janusch said, noting there’s been a number of inquiries for the three part-time positions so far via word-of-mouth.

This is the first time that the school has offered soccer as a scholarship sport and the second time that its had golf. The previous golf team was chopped in 1981 for budgetary reasons.

OC would be the 20th school in the NWAACC to offer mens soccer, 19th in womens soccer, eighth in womens golf and 11th in mens golf.

Janusch said his addition of sports surprised the NWAACC athletic directors at a recent meeting.

“We haven’t had many schools step in with four new sports in a couple of years,” said NWAACC executive director Dick McClain. “There’s a situation (at OC) where the student body was in the position to fund these new programs.”

Adding new programs also reverses a trend in the NWAACC where several schools mainly in Oregon have already cut cross country and track while others have given volleyball the axe as state legislators deal with ever- shrinking tax incomes.

“Both Washington and Oregon have been hit hard,” McClain said. “The main difference is that in Washington sports are mostly paid by student fees, while in Oregon, there’s more of a mix between general funds and fees.”

Another reason for OC adding sports is that it should be a strong attraction for local athletes who have had to go elsewhere for soccer and golf scholarships. Tacoma Community College has four players on its mens team and Bellevue Community College has two who call Kitsap County home. Walla Walla Community College is a popular choice for womens soccer where the leading scorer is Bremerton’s Alisha Lindsey while South Kitsap grad Morgan Welch is playing for Tacoma.

The Rangers won’t have to go far for their home soccer games. They’ve already reached an agreement to use Bremerton High’s Memorial Stadium for fall doubleheaders.

The golf team, which plays in the spring, plans on sticking close by as well.

“We’ve got a proposal to the City of Bremerton to use Gold Mountain and all indications is that it should be OK,” Janusch said. “I should hear about that any day. That’s what I’m hoping since its got two great courses and its in the city and we’re in the city.”

The city-owned complex has previously been the site of the NWAACC championships in 2001 with Green River as the host team.

“They chose it because it’s a great place to play,” Janusch said. “We’re right here 5 miles away and we don’t even have a team.”

OC was an NWAACC golf powerhouse in the 1960s, winning five titles between 1960 and 1967. Ken Dull was a medalist for the Rangers in 1956 while Rory Rice won in 1961 and 1962.

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