Memories of WNC athletics: Wildcats win in the classroom | NevadaAppeal.com

Memories of WNC athletics: Wildcats win in the classroom

Chris Graham

Editor’s Note: Throughout the rest of 2016 Western Nevada College baseball and softball seasons, which is the last for WNC athletics, the Appeal is featuring columns every Sunday from those who are sharing their memories of the programs.

Oh where do I start? Western Nevada College Baseball has been the best thing that has ever happened to me in my life. There are so many memories because it has been a big part of my life for the past nine years. I will never forget the day I walked into the meeting room at WNC when I called to ask if they needed a broadcaster. I remember doing email correspondence with Kevin Edwards the pitching coach who was really interested in bringing a broadcaster in. That has been the single best move of my life. I will always remember it. I can’t thank the WNC administration back then enough for allowing me to be the voice of the Wildcats baseball program and what a ride it has been.

What most people in Carson City, Northern Nevada, and throughout the country don’t realize but should, is WNC athletics as a whole has given literally hundreds of students throughout the years a better life. These teams at the college are always winning national academic awards through the NJCAA and graduating their players in the 90th percentile. When the student-athletes show up at WNC they will more than likely walk out with a degree and that’s the No. 1 priority for both head coaches.

Just take a look at the numbers from other junior colleges with athletics across the country, and you’ll find not a lot of them can compare with WNC in that regard. That is something Carson City, yes the city and community as well as the state, can be and should be, truly proud of. These programs go way beyond the wins and losses on the field — they win where it matters the most and that’s in the classroom and the graduation ceremonies. Let that sink in for a moment.

The programs at WNC have probably saved a lot of lives and we don’t even know it. There are so many student-athletes out there who would not be able to go onto college if it were not for athletic scholarships and WNC has been no exception. When athletics were added at WNC by the college administration in 2005-2006 (it was in the works way before that), it gave the college a great tool to attract a new diverse, young, and vibrant student body and that’s exactly what it has done.

On the field, the baseball program is known as a national power at the National Junior College Athletics Association’s (NJCAA) highest level, Division I in baseball. Since the inception in 2006, the only head coach to lead it, D. J. Whittemore, has compiled a record of more than 400 wins and a winning percentage of 70 percent. Wildcats baseball has three Scenic West Conference Championships, four Region XVIII Championships, three Western District Championships, and three NJCAA World Series appearances.

What I think is the most important of all the awards; the Wildcats’ baseball team has won nine NJCAA All-Academic Team Awards in its history. The athletics as a whole has put Carson City and WNC on the national landscape in every aspect more than any other program out there. Being the “Voice of the Wildcats” baseball program has been a great ride and I hope WNC Athletics has left a lasting mark on the small and great community of Carson City. It’s never goodbye, just until next time.