Lake Tahoe Community College to consider adding athletic programs
With two successful soccer teams having weaved their way into the fabric of South Shore athletics in a span of three years, Lake Tahoe Community College is looking to test the waters on adding more athletics.
In the coming months LTCC Athletic Director Mike Spina plans to schedule meetings for a task force that will evaluate the feasibility of adding sports at Lake Tahoe Community College.
And no, that field being constructed off Al Tahoe Boulevard across from Bijou Community Park won’t be a stadium housing a Coyotes football team. That will be a community-use field and is built longitudinally splitting the property line between the college and city of South Lake Tahoe.
Spina said the sports most likely to get a solid look figure to be men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball. But it’s still early in the process and the third-year AD doesn’t want to get ahead of the process.
“I don’t want to taint anything going forward with the task force, or guarantee anything yet,” Spina said.
The college in 2014 brought sports back to campus with men’s and women’s soccer 15 years after athletics was discontinued. The field was remodeled into a northern California gem and both teams reached the postseason in their inaugural seasons. Both are currently playing at a caliber befitting the top-notch field. Visiting teams enter the stadium and their heads are on swivels as they look around the fancy digs.
“That brings me joy when I watch other athletes walk onto our field,” said Spina, who was hired at the college in 1999. He taught computer science until being hired in 2015 to lead the Coyote sports programs. “It’s a great field. Hands down it’s the best in our conference and I’d put it up against any field in northern California.”
Cross country, basketball and volleyball figure to have the best chance at becoming a reality at LTCC because it has those facilities; a factor that makes some other sports less likely. The college has a gymnasium that was recently updated. The floor was refinished again this year after last year’s update wasn’t successful. Paint was peeling and the floor was slick like an ice rink, Spina said.
There are no tennis courts, baseball or softball fields and no pool or golf course on campus making it more difficult to add those spring programs. The college would have to partner with the community and possibly make those existing facilities less available to the public. Even if LTCC had those facilities, they would have been covered in snow and unplayable during the Golden Valley Conference season, the Coyote’s league, which starts spring practice in January and plays games in February.
“Those sports will have a challenge rising on the list of possible additions,” Spina said. “But we’ll consider every sport that’s available to our school. My vision is that task force would take into consideration travel, our league and facilities to put together a priority list, but a list with a timeline we’re hoping to implement these things. That would go to the board and community as a whole to vet, discuss, and come up with the ultimate decision if we want to go forward with anything.”
The task force, which Spina said will hopefully consist of LTCC officials and representatives from the city and South Tahoe High School, has yet to actually meet. The board’s makeup could change over the course of several meetings.
Once a sport, or sports, is decided on, it will take at least two years before any team can start competing, Spina said, noting that he’d have to work with conference officials to have it implemented, which could take some time.
“We’re a small enough of a community that whatever one part does, it will affect the rest of the community,” Spina said. “It might as well from the beginning involve the college and community.”