Valerie Stambersky (Photo from KCKCC)
Valerie Stambersky (Photo from KCKCC)

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

Valerie Stambersky, the winningest women’s basketball coach at Kansas City Kansas Community College, is stepping down after giving the Lady Blue Devil basketball program two of its best years in history.

One of only two teams to defeat NJCAA Division II national champion Johnson County and the only team to defeat the Lady Cavaliers on their home floor, the Blue Devils were 28-4 the past season after finishing 24-8 in 2013-2014. The 28 wins matched the KCKCC record for second most wins in a season.

“My family comes first,” said Stambersky, who commuted from Warrensburg, Mo., the past season after her husband, Damian, joined the Central Missouri State University baseball coaching staff as an assistant last summer. The couple has two children, a son Taylor, 8; and a daughter Tyler, 5. In addition to her coaching duties, Stambersky served the last two years as assistant athletic director where her responsibilities included overseeing the communications and web design for the Athletic Department website.

Stambersky said her decision to resign was anything but easy.

“I got this job right out of college so this has been my home,” she said. “I’ve truly enjoyed my years at KCKCC and telling my players I was leaving was the most difficult part. But in the long run it’s the best thing for my family. And I won’t miss later drives home in the snow that turns an hour, 15 minute trip into three hours.”

Stambersky won’t get out of the coaching profession. She has accepted a teaching and an assistant coaching position in the Warrensburg School District starting this fall.

“Valerie takes a professional approach to everything she does and I appreciate the amount of work ship put into making our women’s basketball team competitive at the national level,” said KCKCC Athletic Director Tony Tompkins. “The best thing about Val is that she truly cared about the on-court and off-court success of her players and prepared them to be successful when they left KCKCC. That she was able to find something so close to her family was certainly something I was happy to see.”

The Blue Devils came within one win of the NJCAA national tournament this past season, shared the Division II League title with JCCC and tied for second in the Jayhawk East with the Cavaliers, all career bests for Stambersky.

In addition to compiling a 221-264 record over a 16-year career, she had NJCAA All-Academic teams in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. During her tenure, more than 50 Blue Devils received scholarships to four-year colleges and universities including seven from this year’s squad.

Eight players from this year’s 28-4 team are scheduled to return this fall.

“This will be a good team,” Stambersky said.

Stambersky came to KCKCC on June 1, 1999, after serving as a graduate assistant at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich. She earned a BA in Criminal Justice while graduating with distinction from Ferris State in 1998, and in July 1999, graduated with highest distinction from Ferris State with a Master’s Degree in Correctional Administration.

A native of Salem, Ohio, Stambersky won just about every prep honor possible as a senior. Averaging 19.3 points per game, she was all-conference, all-conference player of the year, all-county, county player of the year, first team all-district, district player of the year, first team all-state and all-state co-player of the year. She chose Ferris State University, a Division II college, over several other colleges following high school.

While at Ferris, Stambersky was a four-year starter and a co-captain for three years. She was a three-time Great Lakes Inter-Athletic Conference All-Academic selection, a two-year all-conference player, team MVP her junior and senior year and was selected to the GTE All-Academic Region Team as a senior.

Stambersky holds several records at Ferris including 3-point field goals in a season (72); 3-point field goal attempts in a career (598); 3-point field goal percentage (.344); free throw percentage in a season, (.912); consecutive free throws (32); all-time leader in steals (253); and fourth in scoring in school history (1,304).

Alan Hoskins is the sports information director at KCKCC.

by Kelly Rogge

Ready to get healthy and get into shape? Enrollment is now open for the Kansas City Kansas Community College Wellness and Fitness Center.

The wellness and fitness center features an indoor track, a variety of cardiovascular equipment, Life Fitness Super Circuit, free weights and resistance equipment. Personal training and group exercise classes will begin Aug. 17.

Membership at the KCKCC Wellness and Fitness Center is good from July 22 until Dec. 18. In-state tuition is $123; Kansas City Metro Tuition is $148 and out-of-state tuition is $283.

Those interested can enroll in person at the KCKCC Wellness and Fitness Center, 7250 State Ave. Online enrollment is also available at www.kckcc.edu in Wellness Center Class EXSC 148. Persons enrolling must be at least 18-years-old.

The KCKCC Wellness & Fitness Center’s hours of operation through the remainder of the summer are 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays. The center is also open from 7 a.m. to noon Saturdays.

Starting Aug. 17, hours are 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays. Hours Saturday are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. The center is closed on Sundays throughout the year.

For more information, visit the KCKCC Wellness and Fitness Center website at www.kckcc.edu/student-life/wfc or call 913-288-7610.

Kelly Rogge is the public information supervisor at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

by Kelly Rogge

Inventors, entrepreneurs or anyone who has a creative idea may be interested in Kansas City Kansas Community College’s 2015 Innovation Summit.

The 4th annual Innovation Summit is from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 2 at KCKCC’s Thomas R. Burke Technical Education Center, 6565 State Ave. The cost for attendees to register for the event is $10. Lunch is provided.

This year, Alicia Hooks, director of entrepreneurship at KCKCC, said organizers are trying something new and exciting. Not only will the event hold creative, new and innovative pitches, but the event will also concurrently hold the MECA Summit Challenge (Most Entrepreneurial City in America). The MECA Challenge is for high school and college age participants who compete in small groups to create the best solutions for real problems small businesses experience. Judges will evaluate the solutions and give awards based on their creativity, feasibility, ease of implication and more.

At the Pitch Competition, entrepreneurs will pitch their ideas in front of judges including venture capitalists, investors, other entrepreneurs, business leaders and the community. Participants will compete in one of two divisions – Concept/Idea and Revenue Generating. Additionally, this year, the competition will have a national platform. Friends, family and investors from around the nation can view a video of the pitch and cast their votes online. This provides a wider viewing audience for the product or service participants are presenting at the competition.

“Some people tend to have a slight twist in their gut when they see a new product or idea hit the market that they already thought of,” Hooks said. “This is a platform to not only showcase their ideas, but to provide support.”

Those attending the event and listening to the pitches will each receive the same amount of Innovation Summit currency to give to their favorite ideas. Attendees will have 90 minutes to tour the room and visit with each pitch person/entrepreneur in order to learn any additional information to make their Innovation Summit Currency investment. At the end of the event, organizers will count the Innovation Summit currency for each entrepreneur, which will play a part in determining who moves onto the final round to pitch in front of the judges. Participants are competing for a chance to win a share of $10,000.

Hooks said this event will help to connect and engage innovators and entrepreneurs in the Kansas City community. More than 300 attended the Innovation Summit last year.

“Anyone with an idea or even those that have already started their business can receive business coaching and consulting, at no cost to them, prior to the competition,” she said. “In addition, those who attend will be able to hear and see the creativity and innovation that exists right here. With the MECA competition that is going on simultaneously, those that do not have a desire to start a business, can see how innovation and entrepreneurial thinking is valuable as well. That competition displays unique problem solving skills that are important in any career or leadership role, all while enjoying lunch.”

For more information on the 2015 Innovation Summit, contact Alicia Hooks at 913-288-7570 or by email at info@innovationsummit.com.

Kelly Rogge is the public information supervisor at KCKCC.