Saturday, May 18, 2013

Graduation Morning

The Coker College campus is coming alive before 8 a.m. -- a rare occurrence in the world of Academia!

Graduation begins at 8:30 for the class of 2013 and the excitement is great for those who have accomplished this major life goal and those family, friends and colleagues who supported them through it.

Yesterday I heard a news report about 2013 college graduates. They tend to fit a certain profile. Those looking at the Coker College Class of 2013 are not going to see that stereotype. We have a diverse class, helped in part by those adults students in the Coker ALPHA program who have attained their degree through the evening program.  We also have a high proportion of Pee Dee area/South Carolina residents in our class and they are going to be of several races, multi-gendered, and age diverse.  Women will dominate in numbers but we do have a high percentage of males graduating - against, we are a bit against what is now being considered the norm.

Forget about the stats. When it comes to graduation the most important matter is the CELEBRATION that all the graduates should be having for becoming one of the approximately one percent of the world's population holding a college degree.

Andrea Hunter, in photo below, was at the store getting some water and snacks to fortify herself for the Coker College graduation.

And there will be some graduates missing from today's ceremony as the seniors on the Coker College baseball team are competing in the NCAA Division 2 Regional Tournament. Dr. Wyatt says he will hold a special graduation ceremony for those guys at the tournament site on Sunday. Some of those guys in this bottom photo are graduating.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Coker College Women's Lacrosse announces first recruits

As a lacrosse fan and a faculty member happy that we have lacrosse on the Coker College campus, I wanted to share Chris Dougherty's news release about the first women's lacrosse recruits.  So far, no photos because the first team is enrolling in school this new term, Fall 13:

May 10, 2013

Coker Women’s Lacrosse Announces First Class

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Coker College women's lacrosse coach Steve Efland announced the first-ever recruiting class for the program today. Ashlyn Burgett, Marabeth Durden, Hayley Ferone, Sarah Gulledge, Danielle Holcomb, Karah Huntsinger, Kaitlyn Kimball, Mandalyn Lopez, Kaiti Miller, Lindsay Ordemann and Stephanie Pratapas will join the Cobras beginning in the 2013-14 academic year.
"I am thrilled for Coker College's first-ever women's lacrosse recruiting class," Efland said. "These young ladies coming in are very athletic, enthusiastic and fit in well with what we are trying to build as a program. They're strong players on and off the field, and it's going to be so much fun to work with them."
Burgett, an attacker, comes from Seminole High School in Florida. She was a two-time varsity letterwinner and served as a captain for the Seminoles.
Burgett intends to major in political science at Coker. She is the daughter of Bobby and Kathy Burgett.
Durden, a defensive player, is from Timber Creek High School in Florida. She was a member of the two-time district champion Timber Creek team and played on Florida's team in the national tournament. Durden also played on the RC Elite and CFLC Hawks travel squads.
Durden intends to be an education major with a concentration in early childhood education. She is the daughter of Michael Durden, Mitzi Sheppard, Karl Sheppard and Lisa Durden.
Ferone is an attacker from Olympia High School in Florida, where she was an all-metro selection. She was recently named to the U.S. Lacrosse All-American team and also plays for the Lax Maniax club program.
Hayley is the daughter of Ed and Debbie Ferone.
Gulledge, an offensive player, hails from Surfside Beach, S.C. She attends St. James High School but participated in lacrosse for Socastee High School. As a senior she was first team all-state and finished the season with 56 goals and 10 assists.
Sarah is the daughter of Bill and Leigh Gulledge.
Holcomb, a midfielder, also comes from Seminole High School in Florida, where she was a two-sport athlete in lacrosse and wrestling. Holcomb was a four-year letterwinner in lacrosse and led the team in scoring as a junior.
Holcomb plans to major in communications. She is the daughter of Charles and Mary Holcomb.
Huntsinger plays both offense and defense, and she comes from Fort Mill High School in South Carolina. She was a two-sport athlete in lacrosse and softball for the Yellow Jackets.
Karah is the daughter of Dan and Kathy Huntsinger.
Kimball, a defensive player, comes from Winter Springs High School in Florida. She was a four-sport athlete in lacrosse, soccer, track and field, and weightlifting. Kimball played lacrosse under Efland for the Bears. She is also a member of the Hericanes Lacrosse Club.
Kaitlyn is the daughter of Ronald and Emily Kimball.
Lopez, a goalie, is also from Winter Springs High School and played under Efland. She was a two-sport athlete in lacrosse and basketball. As a senior she was a captain and first team all-conference. Lopez also played on the RC Elite and Hericanes club teams.
Mandalyn is the daughter of Ruben and Stacey Lopez.
Miller, an offensive player, comes from Dutch Fork High School in South Carolina. In addition to lacrosse, she was a member of the color guard, where she served as a co-captain.
Miller intends to major in education. She is the daughter of Kevin and Dawn Miller.
Ordemann is a defensive player from Toms River North High School in New Jersey. She was a two-sport athlete in lacrosse and soccer for the Mariners. Ordemann's team won back-to-back A South champions out of the Shore Conference.
Lindsay is the daughter of Charles and Susan Ordemann.
Pratapas is a midfielder transferring from Northern Virginia Community College. She is originally from Brentsville District High School in Virginia, where she was a three-sport athlete in lacrosse, basketball and soccer.
Pratapas is set to major in communications. She is the daughter of Anthony and Caroline Pratapas.
For more information, contact Chris Dougherty, manager of athletics media relations and marketing, at 843-383-8018 or

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Morning News Sports Editor Talks Coker College Athletics

Photo by Coker College of Athletic Awards on May 1, 2013

Years ago. I mean, years ago I was an adjunct instructor at Coker when I had an opportunity for a rare day class. (It was a great class for me.) But, what I also remember is the college had a major discussion happening about the question of bringing a baseball team to the school. The baseball team was a way to add men, to what was still a very female focused student body, and to add students in the continuing quest to grow. But, the idea of growing through sports had not yet taken a firm hold and the debate appeared robust.

Baseball was added and the idea of sports being a significant contributor to the growth of the college took root. Today, one of the major growth strategies for Coker's reaching our magic 1500 student number is through sports.  The column linked to this post talks of some of the college's orientation to the strategy and Mark (the writer) has a good handle on the issues from the macro perspective.

Student Athletes Participate in the Classroom
From the micro perspective - the student in the classroom - this instructor finds the growth strategy to be effective. While not true in every single case, there is a motivation to a student athlete that does often carry over to the classroom. Often, those of us leading the classroom have to work a little harder to make the connection, but most student athletes (like most student performers) have been multi-tasking for much of their lives and they know they CAN -- the key is making it happen.

Years ago when the S. C. Governors School was moving from the Coker campus to their own campus we needed to grow. I suggested lacrosse then -- my favorite sport. It did not happen then but we have it on campus now. This coming semester we will also have Women's lacrosse and we will have wrestling and we are gearing up for a new conference in all sports. The strategy is working but like all strategies, it has to be worked -- nothing just happens.

New Sport Announced for 2014 Academic Year
Coker College announced today that it will be fielding track and field in the 2014 academic year.

As an aside -- Congratulations to all the MVPs honored at last night's Athletic Award Ceremony!