CLINTON — Bob Walker spent more than a quarter-century at Clinton Community College, first as a student-athlete and later as a successful men's basketball coach.
He knows the struggles the school has faced supporting its athletics program and the difficulties competing with other junior colleges in Iowa. So, he wasn't shocked by Wednesday's news that Clinton Community College will fully discontinue its athletics program at the end of the fall sports season, eliminating men's basketball and women's volleyball from its campus offerings. Still, he was saddened to hear it.
"I kind of anticipated it was going to happen," said Walker, who retired from his job at CCC in 2006 after 25 seasons. "Toward the end of my tenure, other programs in Iowa were beefing up programs and scholarships. Our school didn't try to keep up with them."
The school made the announcement Wednesday morning.
"This was a very, very, very difficult decision," CCC president Karen Vickers said. "We have had athletics here for a very long time. We were very proud to be able to offer these opportunities. We had some wonderful, wonderful students who have been a part of the program here.
"It certainly was not a quick decision. It's something we've evaluated for some time."
The Cougars basketball team unknowingly played its final season this past winter. Volleyball players will have one last full season this fall; when it concludes, no more sports will be offered at CCC. Vickers said that scholarships of returning basketball players will still be honored.
When he learned of the decision in the past couple of weeks, coach and athletic director Joe Shovlain said, "It was shocking. We had scheduled 30 games. It knocked me off my feet."