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GPC coaches crushed by closing of athletic department

By: Ben Abrams

Coaches from GPC’s athletic programs share their disappointment about the disbandment of the athletic department after the spring semester.

“It’s sad and surprising. This has been my whole life, both my parents worked here, I graduated from here and worked here. So it’s pretty sad and shocking at the same time,” said Chris Ward, an assistant coach for the men’s basketball team.

Ward’s colleague and fellow assistant coach David Dennis was also somber about the legacy that is about to be abandoned by the school.

“I think it’s very unfortunate; a lot of people spent a lot of hard time putting in the energy and effort building the programs to where they are,” said Dennis. “I’ve been here for 17 years, and I watched it grow from a very small program to a nationally known program in not just basketball, but in every single sport.”

Coaches from different athletic programs shared similar feelings of disappointment about this semester being the last one for sports at GPC.

James Waldon, women’s basketball head coach, was melancholy about the end of GPC’s athletic program but did acknowledge that the tide was changing for colleges in Georgia.

“It’s kind of sad in a way GPC served a major role in the community. It has for 50 years gaven a lot of student the opportunity to pursue higher education, but these are the kind of times we live in,” said Waldon.

Ray Edwards, the coach and coordinator for the Wellness and Recreation Center at the Clarkston campus looked at the situation with the glass half-full.

“I think it’s going to be a big loss to the current student population that they don’t have a current team to support, but I think it’s a good opportunity for those who will be here in 2016 to support the Georgia State athletic program which is really on the rise,” said Edwards.

What confuses the coaches is the decision to announce the consolidation with GSU and the disbandment of GPC athletics after the spring semester of the school year began.

“You tell people in the middle of their season that you only have 15 games in your career left, and that’s not right,” said Dennis. “They could have handled the situation a lot better.”

Waldon said that he did not even hear the news of the consolidation from anyone at the school. He originally heard about it from a former player who asked him if the rumor was true. The coach was not even certain about the news until his wife asked him about it.

Coaches know that the bottom line is that moves like the consolidation are  about business, and that includes making decision that will have a negative impact on certain people.

“I understand that it’s a business decision, and it will benefit everyone overall, but I feel sorry for a lot of people who will lose their job and may not have retirement,” said Dennis.

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