SCCC, McSpadden speak out about resignation
After 32 years leading athletics at Seward County Community College, former athletic director and head baseball coach Galen McSpadden shouldn’t have to defend his integrity. Yet in the wake of rumors and insinuations that McSpadden was pressured into resigning in December 2016, “we would like to clarify that decision,” said SCCC president, Dr. Ken Trzaska. “To question the legacy of our former AD is unacceptable.”
As SCCC reopens its search for an AD, McSpadden continues as the Acting AD, contrary to local rumor.
“The talk about ‘lack of leadership,’ is disappointing,” McSpadden said. “To the contrary, I felt like this year would be the best time to start a ‘Moving Forward’ transition for SCCC.”
News releases provided to local and state media on Dec. 18, 2016, detailed McSpadden’s decision to resign as AD.
“This position has outgrown a dual role,” McSpadden said at the time, listing the duties involved with NJCAA Region VI, KJCCC, and growing institutional needs. “This is the best thing for the college … and I can tell you I’ve tried to put the institution’s mission ahead of every decision I’ve made over the years.”
In an interview Friday, McSpadden recalled the decision-making process that led to his resignation.
“I was given an opportunity by President Trzaska to help decide the best direction,” he said, noting that the conversation continued a discussion he’d started with former presidents at SCCC. “I’ve kind of lost count of how many presidents I’ve worked with,” McSpadden said.
“I can tell you how I thought it through,” he said. “One, the AD job and baseball coaching needed to be separated. Two, I had a choice of which job I wanted to fill. It was my understanding that the decision was completely up to me, which was a rare opportunity that I will forever appreciate And, three, I felt it was in the best interest of SCCC for me to focus on one thing … I chose baseball.”
Trzaska affirmed McSpadden’s choice.
“The resignation of former athletic director Galen McSpadden was a decision made by him and his family, based on his personal assessment that it was in the best interest of the institution to have a full-time athletic director who is focused 100 percent on leadership within the athletic department,” Trzaska said. “What many people may not know is that the dual position caused continual, inherent pressures to provide attention to the athletic department that was required.”
Longtime Saints fans may recall that McSpadden ended up as athletic director because he is a team player.
“He took over as AD when we needed someone in that leadership role with integrity,” said Executive Director of Development Tammy Doll. “I’ve worked for some really great supervisors and Galen McSpadden is one of the best. I hope we can find a new AD with the humility and professionalism Galen has always shown.”
Former SCCC trustee Jo Ann Sharp agreed.
“Through the years, Galen has been an outstanding AD and baseball coach,” she said. “In the last few years, there has been a lot more paperwork, and it’s taken more time to do both jobs. We talked about it last year, and his preference was to be a baseball coach.”
As major benefactors for the Sharp Champions Center, an indoor baseball practice facility and club house, Gene and Jo Ann Sharp have an additional reason to appreciate McSpadden.
“He’s been an excellent fundraiser — that’s the reason we have Brent Gould Field at the college,” Jo Ann recalled. “Galen is the one who got a group together to spearhead that project.” Now, with construction of the Champions Center in the near future, she said, “he wants to help with getting the funds raised to finish that up, and he will have time to do so.”
With baseball season in full swing, and the 2017-18 academic year around the corner, the college’s focus will be finding a new AD to build on the legacy established by McSpadden and the college’s founders.
“If there are any questions about the nature of this process or regarding the facts of this transition, please feel free to reach out to the president’s office at the college,” Trzaska said. “As you know my door is always open.”