All KCKCC athletic events pushed back to next spring

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

Kansas City Kansas Community College will be without any competitive sports this fall.

By a vote of the membership, the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) postponed all fall and winter athletic events and moved them to next spring because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am in full support of the decision made by the NJCAA leadership,” KCKCC Athletic Director Tony Tompkins said. “They did a great of gathering feedback from the various regions. I believe this is the best approach for our student-athletes to have the opportunity to compete and finish their seasons.

“Things are going to look a lot different this season but I am very optimistic we can still provide a great atmosphere for our athletes to be successful both academically and athletically,” he said.

The vote affects six KCKCC sports – men’s and women’s soccer, golf, volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball. Baseball, softball and golf events are annually on the spring schedule.

Athletes will be allowed to practice in all sports during the fall and officials in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) are looking into the possibility of a limited number of scrimmages between conference members.

“We are expecting the KJCCC to finalize decisions about scrimmages at our meeting in early August,” Tompkins said. “There’s a wide range of recommendations from across the state but we are all in agreement that the health and safety of our athletes is our top priority.”

All KCKCC athletes will have daily screenings and additional preventive measures will be put in place by Aug. 1 to provide a safe environment for those involved. The parameters for each of the sports with dates subject to change by NJCAA and KJCCC guidelines:

Soccer – 60 days of fall practice between Aug. 15-Nov. 15. Spring practice permitted starting March 15 with a starting date of April 2. No more than 14 games allowed and all tournament play must be completed by May 24. Nationals championships will begin June 2.

Volleyball – Fall practice allowed between Aug. 15-Nov. 15. Spring practice may begin Jan. 11 with competition to being May. 29. Play will be limited to a maximum of 21 dates with a completion date of April 3. The national championships will be held April 15-17.

Basketball – Practices allowed between Sept. 15-Dec. 15. The number of spring games will be limited to 22 with practice beginning Jan. 11 and competition Jan. 22. All play must be completed by April 11 with national championships beginning April 19.

Golf – Fall practices allowed between Sept. 5-Nov. 15. Spring practice can begin Jan. 10 and competition Jan. 22. National championship will be play May 11-14.

Baseball – Fall practices between Sept. 5-Nov. 15. Spring schedule will be limited to a maximum of 56 games with practices to begin Jan. 10 and competition Jan. 22. All competition must be completed by May 23 with the NJCAA DI World Series to begin May 29.

Softball – 60 days of fall practice allowed between Sept. 5-Nov. 15. Spring practice may begin Jan. 10 with competition starting Jan. 22. Schedule limited to 27 playing dates with all competition ended by May 19. The NCAA Division II national tournament will be played May 25-29.

Former Neosho coach new KCKCC volleyball assistant

Asya Herron

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

A Jayhawk Conference rival for 12 years, Asya Herron is bringing her vast volleyball coaching experience to Kansas City Kansas Community College as assistant coach.

“An ideal fit for our top 20 volleyball program,” said Blue Devil head coach Mary Bruno-Ballou. “We are so excited to have Asya on our staff and a part of the program. She brings a wealth of volleyball knowledge as well as incredible recruiting skills and will only help to advance our program to the next level.”

Herron has been head coach at Neosho Community College in Chanute for the last 10 years after starting her coaching career there, serving as assistant coach for two years beginning in 2008. In addition, she has coached the KC Power club team in Overland Park the last two years.

“I’m excited,” Herron said. “I love how Mary’s players always work hard and how she always has a strong program. Playing the Jayhawk, you’re always playing the toughest competition. When it comes to the Top 20 teams in the nation, it’s a no-brainer. The Jayhawk always has more teams in the Top 20 teams in the nation.”

With her experience at Neosho and coaching club teams in the Kansas City metro area, Herron will be particularly valuable in recruiting.

“I see a lot of kids and have a lot of former players, friends and contacts in the city and the state,” Herron said. As a head coach, she also brings a wealth of experience in student academics, scheduling, statistics and multiple other responsibilities.

A native of Chanute, Herron was a standout athlete in volleyball, basketball and softball at Chanute High School. She began her collegiate education at Neosho Community College, playing basketball and earning All-Jayhawk Conference honors in volleyball.

Herron completed her volleyball career at William Penn University in Oskaloosa, Iowa, earning a Bachelor of Arts in sports management and administration in 2005. A classmate at William Penn, Joe McKinstry is the current women’s basketball coach at KCKCC.

Herron started coaching club teams while at William Penn. After two years as assistant at Neosho Community College, she was a graduate assistant at Pittsburg State for the 2008 spring semester before returning to Neosho that fall.

KCKCC student receives Ella Fitzgerald Memorial Scholarship

Christian Anderson

by Kelly Rogge, KCKCC

One student at Kansas City Kansas Community College is the first to receive a scholarship from the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation under a new partnership.

KCKCC recently reached an agreement with the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation regarding a new music scholarship – the Ella Fitzgerald Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship will provide one music or audio engineering student per year with a full-tuition scholarship that covers all college-related fees and expenses.

KCKCC’s first recipient is Christian Anderson, a second-year music major from Shawnee, Kansas.

“I cannot begin to express how grateful and humbled I am that the faculty saw fit to name me the first Ella Fitzgerald Scholar at KCKCC,” Anderson said. “The fact that they thought me deserving of this serves as a great encouragement to me to keep giving my all despite whatever may happen in an uncertain future. This is truly a great honor that I am very excited to have received.”

The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation was established in 1993 by Ella Fitzgerald, a world-renowned jazz artist. Fitzgerald wanted to share her passion for music and reading with people of all races, cultures and beliefs as well as to help at-risk and disadvantaged members of society achieve a higher quality of life.

The foundation’s four main areas of focus are – creating educational and other opportunities for children; fostering a love and knowledge of music, including assistance to students of music; the provision of health care, food, shelter and counseling to those in need and specific areas of medical care and research, with an emphasis on diabetes, vision problems and heart disease.

The foundation’s scholarship program began in 1996 at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University-Long Beach. The program has since expanded, and the foundation now funds 30 scholarships at schools throughout the United States.

“It is an honor for us to have been invited by the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation to be one of their educational partners,” said Dr. Justin Binek, assistant professor of music at KCKCC. “For us to be part of a list that includes such wonderful jazz programs as California State University-Long Beach, the University of North Texas and North Carolina Central University is remarkable. And I couldn’t think of a more deserving student to be our first Ella Fitzgerald Scholar than Christian. In addition to being a truly excellent and well-rounded musician, in my opinion he’s an even better person.”

KCKCC was chosen as an Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation partner, in part, because of the college’s repeated national exposure through the Downbeat Student Music Awards and performances at various national conferences.

In addition, Dr. Justin Binek, assistant professor of music at KCKCC, completed his doctoral research on Fitzgerald’s improvisation techniques and the foundation has expressed interest in partnering with a community college that had a high percentage of minority students.

“KCKCC is ecstatic to have a partnership with the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation. This award is another indication of how highly regarded our Music Department has become, along with the 14 DownBeat Student Music Awards that our students – mostly vocal – have won in the last four years,” said Jim Mair, music professor at KCKCC. “Kansas City, Kansas, is also the birthplace of Charlie Parker, Carmell Jones and Dr. Nathan Davis, all of whom performed with Ella Fitzgerald, and KCKCC Professor Dr. Justin Binek wrote his dissertation on the evolution of Ella’s scatting. All of the pieces of the puzzle are coming together to perpetuate the Kansas City, Kansas, connection to swing, soul and the evolution of jazz music.”

Anderson, a graduate of Shawnee Mission Northwest, focuses primarily in voice, and performs a diverse range of styles, including classical, jazz and musical theatre. He is a member of KCKCC’s award-winning vocal jazz ensemble, The Standard. An excellent academic student as well, Anderson studies piano and he is active in KCKCC’s Theatre Department.

“We are honored that the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation selected KCKCC to be one of the few institutions in the country to offer their scholarship,” said John Stafford, associate professor of music, director of choral activities. “I am excited about Christian earning this award. Of the 10 candidates we were considering, Christian had the highest GPA among all of them. Also, a special thank you should go to Dr. (Justin) Binek for being the liaison between the college and the foundation in organizing this opportunity. This wouldn’t have happened without his hard work and insight.”