Hard work lies ahead

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 28, 2004

MURFREESBORO – Note to Braves fans: hard work lies ahead.

Those who love Chowan College athletics and are fans of new Athletic Director Jim Tribbett may be under the assumption that everything is perfect now that he has assumed the role of leader of the athletic program.

Not so, says Tribbett.

&uot;I’m not nor should anyone else be under the illusion that because Jim Tribbett has taken control of the Athletic Department that everything is okay now,&uot; he said Saturday morning during an interview in his office at the Helms Center. &uot;It’s going to be a work in progress.&uot;

But, that work has already begun for Tribbett and the other members of the athletic department.

Just two weeks after Chowan College President Dr. M. Christopher White removed Debbie Warren from her post as AD and named Tribbett to replace her, the new administrator is heavily involved in the school’s transition from NCAA Division III to Division II.

In fact, Tribbett is in Indianapolis, Indiana today meeting with the NCAA about the procedures from making the move. Chowan is one of the schools in a year of reclassification. That year allows the school to explore all the aspects of moving from D-III to D-II.

&uot;Our number one priority right now is reclassification,&uot; Tribbett insisted, &uot;and with that, finding conference affiliation.&uot;

The meeting Tribbett is attending today will help the new AD and his staff as they make plans to make the transition.

&uot;We’re going to Indianapolis to get a plan,&uot; Tribbett said. &uot;We’ll look at the models they show us and then come back, put in on the table and see which model best fits Chowan College.&uot;

After this year of reclassification, the Braves will have a two-year period as probationary members of D-II before becoming fully aligned during the 2007-2008 athletic year.

Conference affiliation could come before the full-fledge membership, according to Tribbett and that connection will be a major priority for the college.

&uot;We want to get aligned with a conference that fits,&uot; Tribbett said. &uot;Right now we’re affiliated with both the NCAA and the National Christian College Athletic Association, but we’re independent.

&uot;Becoming aligned with a conference will help us with scheduling and provide all of the other benefits of being in a league,&uot; he said.

While working with reclassification and finding a conference, the focus of the athletic program will also shift.

&uot;We have several areas that I am insisting that we work on,&uot; Tribbett said. &uot;First, we must get our budget under control. This program has to operate in the black.

&uot;Our second priority will be recruiting and retention of our athletes,&uot; he added.

The coach said he wanted his entire staff to understand that recruiting would be the department’s lifeblood.

&uot;We need to identify our niche,&uot; he said. &uot;We have to identify our recruiting base and work toward relationships with high school coaches.&uot;

He said retention of athletes would be another key focus.

&uot;We want programs, not teams,&uot; he insisted. &uot;If each year we have a new batch of kids, we have a team. Programs have freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors.&uot;

The new AD said he also wanted a supportive and helpful coaching staff. He wants to see the coaches and players from each program supporting the others on campus.

The fourth area of priority will be wins and losses.

&uot;We don’t have to win championships, but we want to build proud programs,&uot; he said. &uot;People know the success we’ve had.

&uot;We want to try to rekindle the tradition that here,&uot; he added. &uot;We’ve gotten away from working hard. We’ve gotten away from developing and maintaining relationships with coaches.&uot;

Tribbett said it was important to him that Chowan have the type of athletic program that all would be proud of and want to be involved in.

&uot;I want to see programs where the coach has control of the team and is teaching them,&uot; he said. &uot;I want to see kids that are trying to do what they’re asked and programs that represent Chowan College is a first-class, professional way.

&uot;If we can do that, I think we’ll have the type of program that the people of Murfreesboro, Hertford County and the Roanoke-Chowan area can live with,&uot; he closed.