Don’t count out the Western Nevada College sports programs just yet.
D.J. Whittemore said before Thursday’s doubleheader split with College of Southern Idaho that school president Chet Burton told him Wednesday if $100,000 could be raised the program could be continued.
“He didn’t give me a date,” Whittemore said. “We have 16 months, so we’ll see what happens.
“The donations (or fundraising) has to be re-occurring. It can’t be a one-time deal. This is the third time the program has been canceled in four years. I’m believing that the program is going to be canceled until it isn’t.”
Helaine Jesse Morres, former vice president at WNC, is trying to organize a fundraising effort. She has scheduled a meeting, which is open to the public, for March 10 at 10 a.m. in Room 2149 of the Legislature building. Jesse Morres was one of the driving forces behind getting sports at WNC.
She didn’t go into any specifics, only to say there are people upset with the decision to drop the programs and want to help keep them going for the foreseeable future.
Two of Whittemore’s current freshmen, Bridger Nielson and Austin Garcia, are both redshirting. Both indicated they are coming back.
“Yeah, definitely,” Nielson said.
“I never thought the program would be shut down. I have every intention of playing here. I’m still thinking it will get worked out. I haven’t thought too much about next season. It’s a question to be answered.”
“I’m planning to be back,” Garcia said. “I’m sure it will get worked out. I haven’t really sat down and talked (in depth) to coach Whittemore about it.”
Whittemore has already said he would help any of his current players or incoming players relocate if they opt to leave WNC.
The WNC coach said at least six of next year’s 17-player recruiting class — shortstop-pitcher Casey Cornwell (Beaverton, Ore.); pitcher Leif Strom (Puyallup, Wash.); Chandler Barkdull (Park City, UT); pitcher Jordan Ragan (North Medford, Ore.); pitcher Colton Westfall (North Medford, Ore.) and Abe Yagi (Salt Lake City) — have indicated they will come to WNC next year and honor the letter of intent they signed. Whittemore said he has personally talked to all but one of his new recruits.
Whittemore shed light on the issue with getting into a California conference. He said the charter prohibits any non-California school from playing in a California league.
He said it would take a two-thirds vote of the member schools to change the rule. WNC hasn’t had any success, forcing it to look elsewhere. Much of the money WNC spends on keeping its programs afloat has been hotel stays, airfare, and of course meal money.