Umpqua Community College made an announcement on Jan. 17 stating UCC’s board of education has approved for the expansion of three new athletic teams. These three new teams will be men’s and women’s track and field as well as men’s baseball.
These teams will be added by next fall term. However, the men’s baseball team will not be competing until the following year of 2019. UCC Athletic Director Craig Jackson stated, “we will not compete in baseball this year, but we will have athletes here and will redshirt and work them out.”
A redshirt freshman is a student athlete that is kept out of games to only practice and develop.
Jackson also confirmed new teams will have the same type of financial and scholarship structure as all of UCC’s current teams.
The men’s and women’s track team will practice at UCC and Sutherlin High School, while the men’s baseball team will be holding practices at American Legion Field in Roseburg. Sutherlin Athletic Director Josh Grotting confirmed reports of practice at the high school, and Jake Kuitert validated practices at Legion.
Many students can be curious as to why there will not be a softball team yet and unfortunately, “the challenges of softball would be that it is another off campus site to manage which would make it more difficult, but not impossible,” Jackson stated.
However, women wishing to play a sport involving a bat hitting a ball will be able to try out for the baseball team.
UCC’s previous Athletic Director Cheryl Yoder did have a plan back in 2006 to bring back RiverHawk baseball program, however, her proposal kept getting denied.
It all started back when Yoder was in a meeting with UCC’s former President, Joel Olson. Yoder stated back then to the president that she could bring in 50 students with a baseball program.
Her plan was to make up a budget, find a place for the team to practice, and submit the proposal to the board of directors.The proposal was to have the team practice at Legion field, which was agreed upon with the Legion. Her plan later had UCC adding a softball team in the next year after the baseball program was established. She had already spoken with Sunshine Park and had an agreement to practice there as well.
It seemed as if all the pieces were in place.
Unfortunately, according to Yoder, her idea “was tabled and kept getting shut down from either presidents not seeing how it could help, or pressure from other groups not wanting athletic programs.”
This happened for the rest of Yoder’s career.
Seeing the news of a baseball team coming to Umpqua is very exciting to Yoder, and she does not hold a grudge. “Whatever didn’t work then now does, that’s all water under the bridge.”
Regardless, Yoder loves that UCC is finally getting a baseball program. “A lot of NWACC schools have both softball and baseball. And with UCC being the furthest southern school, it can really help with recruiting.”