Grayson College is bringing back basketball and plans to hit the court before the end of the year.
The Grayson College board of trustees approved the addition of men’s and women’s basketball programming for the college, as well as pep band, cheer and athletic training, during its recent meeting. Grayson College President Jeremy McMillen said the college will begin looking to hire two head coaches and two assistant coaches for the basketball program immediately.
“Our intention is to have a team on the court in the fall,” McMillen said. “That will be a tall order for someone. We are looking for someone extraordinary that can do that.”
Board President Ronnie Cole was one of the first basketball players at Grayson College and was the second scholarship recepient. He said the ideal candidates would have experience and contacts that would aid with recruiting.
McMillen said he believes the right candidates will be able to meet the fall deadline.
“We have rich tradition of basketball here at the college and there is a lot of interest already,” McMillen said. “I think we will be able to accomplish that and put a competitive team on the court very soon.”
The basketball facility was completely remodeled following Grayson College’s bond sale in 2007 and 2008. The facility was updated with new paint, new floor, new dressing rooms and a new scoreboard. The year after the remodel was complete, the basketball program had to be cut due to funding issues.
During the 2010-2011 time period, Texas cut back on funding for the college and decisions were made to cut certain programs. The college had seven sports at one time, but only two remained after cuts were made.
The women’s basketball team went to the national championship tournament and finished fifth in the nation the year for its division before the program was cut.
The upcoming addition of a new dormitory on campus was one factor in prompting the discussion of new programming. McMillen previously said the additional lodging space opens up opportunities for sports and educational programs to be made available.
“Currently, we are full in our dorm,” McMillen said. “If you’re recruiting for a baseball player, you would recruit a friend and a half. One or two other students are usually recruited and that is a good thing for having programs. Or even if it’s an arts student or a band student or a music student, they wind up doing that as well.”
Construction on the new dormitory is currently underway. The dorm will be located at the back of the campus near the Culinary Arts Building and existing Viking Hall dormitory. The residence hall will be the first built since the construction of Viking Hall. Previously, dormitories were available on the west campus, which is located on the grounds of North Texas Regional Airport — Perrin Field, but those have been out of service for six years, McMillen explained.
“The additional dormitories on the west campus are not in great shape and are not serviceable,” McMillan said. “The new one will allow us to do more. There will still be plenty of capacity for students that are interested and that are not involved in the additional programs.”
The dormitory will include a general lounge area, as well as single occupancy, double occupancy and suite style rooms with a capacity of 99 beds. Adding the capacity of Viking Hall, the college will be able to house a total of 185 to 200 beds, depending on the mix of male and female students.
Cole said basketball is an emotional issue for many people in the area.
“I think it’s going to be an exciting thing for a lot of people in the community that it’s coming back,” Cole said. “Especially for local players to have an opportunity to play college basketball.”