After all the turnover the Frank Phillips College Athletic Department saw in the spring and summer, one of the discussions I found myself having a couple of times centered around how the collegeâ€™s athletic teams are going to struggle to have any kind of success over the next several years.
Thanks to all but one of the programs seeing a coaching change and the short time frame the new coaches had to build teams, I will admit I entered the school year hoping the teams might win a couple of games. However at the same time entering the year, I expected to see a lot of struggles for the teams wearing blue and gold.
Entering this season, the FPC Lady Plainsmen volleyball team was picked to finish dead last in the WJCAC due to having a completely new coaching staff and a roster full of newcomers. I realize a lot of the schedule remains to be played and I am not quite ready to pencil in a trip to the national tournament for the Lady Plainsmen. But with the team currently holding an 11-6 record and just beating conference title favorites NMMI on the road, I think it is safe to say the last place conference prediction is probably going to be wrong and the Lady Plainsmen volleyball program is still pretty strong.
It is too early to really gauge what is in store for the rest for the other FPC sports. However, each program appears to have a good core group to build around and are under coaching staffs that know what they are doing on and off the field or court.
One of the ingredients the Plainsmen basketball team has been missing the past couple of years is having size near the basket to battle for rebounds. But entering this season, new Plainsmen Head Basketball Coach Chris Hackett has been able to bring in seven players listed over 6-5, which should help the team win some battles on the boards. In talking to some people that have seen some of the Plainsmen players workout, there is a sense of optimism that the Plainsmen could be a surprise team come conference play.
In softball, the team has seven players returning from last seasonâ€™s regional qualifying team, while the womenâ€™s basketball team returns seven players of their own to go along with three newcomers that measure over 5-11.
Despite only having just over two weeks to find players between the time he was hired and the start of the school year, new Plainsmen baseball coach Kurtis Lay was able to bring in 24 players to form a team that will take to the baseball diamond come the spring.
While I am optimistic about the upcoming year being filled with positive things, each of the FPC Athletic programs will face some challenges, including having smaller rosters and/or more new faces than the teams they will compete against throughout the year.
Yet as the the school year continues to unfold, the demise talk of the FPC Athletic program is proving to be premature and is even unmerited.
So when you see the â€śFPC Game Dayâ€ť sign near the cloverleaf intersection or the collegeâ€™s sign on Roosevelt advertising upcoming games, know that the FPC Athletic program is continuing to put out competitive teams that are worthy of the communityâ€™s support like they have always been.