Pellissippi State adds athletics

Lesli Bales-SherrodOur Town Youth

High school athletes who want to continue their sports on a collegiate level will have another option next year, as Pellissippi State Community College adds competitive athletics in fall 2023.

The National Junior College Athletic Association officially accepted Pellissippi State into the conference at its meeting Oct. 20. Pellissippi State joins 10 fellow Tennessee Board of Regents schools in the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association.

Pellissippi State will offer nine sports in fall 2023 to kick off its inaugural season:

  • Men’s and women’s soccer
  • Men’s and women’s cross country
  • Men’s and women’s half marathon
  • Men’s golf
  • Women’s volleyball
  • Esports

“When you look at our mission – to provide a transformative environment fostering the academic, social, economic and cultural enrichment of the individual – we believe that athletics can play a part in that by providing another avenue for character development to our students,” said Rushton Johnson, vice president for student affairs, who led the search for the college’s first athletics director.

Offering athletics also could strengthen the college’s recruitment, he added.

“We know that Pellissippi State loses students who competed in sports throughout grade school and high school that would otherwise come here,” Johnson said. “Some students walk right by us to compete at other community colleges. Our community partners are very excited to talk about the pipeline to get student athletes into Pellissippi State.”

Pellissippi State has hired cohort specialist Brock Evans to serve as the college’s athletics director. Evans played football for Maryville High School, during which time the team won three state championships, and continued his football career at Union College, where he was a four-year starter, a three-year captain and an All Mid-South selection.

He later coached three seasons for his alma mater and has more recently coached Pellissippi State’s first disc golf team, which finished 12th in the nation in its inaugural season last year.

“College athletics taught me accountability, humility, how to compete, how to lead, how to fail, sacrifice and discipline,” Evans said. “Here at Pellissippi State, we believe in that transformative experience and the value it will bring to our campus community. The Pellissippi State Panthers will move forward with the three key pillars to success: academic excellence, equitable opportunities for all student athletes and excellence on the field of play.”

Pellissippi State is now looking for qualified coaches and hitting the recruiting trail to find student athletes for its fall 2023 teams. These student athletes will have the unique opportunity to build their programs from the ground up, Evans said.

“We are excited to be able to offer local athletes the chance to compete close to home for championships and earn a degree and the skills necessary to build their paths to success,” he said.

More information here.

Lesli Bales-Sherrod does marketing and writing for Pellissippi State Community College.

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