GADSDEN, Ala. (WBRC) – Baseball and softball may return to Gadsden State Community College after several years, but the college wants to hear from residents first.
They will host a community meeting at the Beck Conference Center on the Wallace Drive Campus on January 20 at 5:30 PM.
According to Athletic Director Mike Cancilla, the meeting will focus on the recovery of both sports.
“During the meeting we will talk about our vision,” he said. “We need public input to help us project community support. What does the community want from our athletic program?”
The Gadsden State baseball program was dissolved in 2011, and the softball program followed in 2016.
“A lot of people were disappointed when our baseball and softball teams stopped,” Cancilla said. “This is a baseball community. This is a softball community. When we had teams, a lot of local people came to support us.”
Cancilla said the reinstatement of its baseball and softball programs would bring additional scholarships to student athletes and spark more interest in Gadsden state.
“Student-athletes are interested in the colleges where there are opportunities to continue playing their favorite sport,” he said. “We have many excellent baseball and softball players in our area who would be a great addition to our athletic program and college.”
The President of the State of Gadsden, Dr. Kathy Murphy, says that because it’s a community college, she wants community input on these sports to return. They are excited about this opportunity, but there will be financial hurdles.
“The fields have been affected. Definitely needs attention,” says Dr. Kathy Murphy. “We appreciate the city doing this on our softball field, but baseball is going to be a challenge for us. We will have to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in the field, fencing and lighting. The concessions. A lot of money will have to be invested. We think we can start with softball and start baseball the following year.”
Using the softball courts planned for the Gadsden sports complex project is an opportunity; however, it would be necessary to renovate the existing Gadsden State baseball complex. The college should also purchase new equipment for both sports.
“There is certainly a financial challenge that comes with starting new athletic programs, but an investment in our college and in our students is also a win for our community,” Cancilla said. “We just need to know if our community is willing to support us in this endeavor.”
dr. Kathy Murphy, president of the state of Gadsden, said the college is looking for ways to keep students in the community after high school, including providing quality education and the opportunity to continue exercising.
“We are restoring cross county in the fall, and we hope we can potentially restore baseball and softball as early as the spring of 2023,” she said. “We are a community college looking for ways to serve our community through education and athletics.”
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