GRAYLING – After nearly eight years without a basketball program, Kirtland Community College is currently recruiting for both men’s and women’s teams. Both teams will begin competing in fall 2022 as members of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
With its Grayling Campus completed, the College’s Event Center features brand new athletic facilities that seat 1,100 fans and feature three courts and an indoor track.
Firebird athletics programming already fields golf, bowling, and cross country teams. The addition of basketball promotes more opportunities for student involvement for both athletes and spectators.
“We’re not only excited by the College spirit that cheering on our basketball teams can bring to Kirtland, we’re also excited that the sport gives community members another way to engage with the College,” says Tom Quinn, Kirtland President. “We hope our basketball program will provide a fun way for families and community members to interact with Kirtland and one another.”
Basketball player recruitment efforts are underway, as Kirtland seeks to build a competitive program that attracts student athletes from across the State. Plans are in process to build student and athlete housing at the College’s Grayling site. Proposed completion of housing is winter 2023.
“We wanted to make sure that we had state-of-the-art facilities in place before launching such a high-contest sport,” explains Don Haskin, Kirtland’s Athletic Director. “This year, we’re focusing on recruiting local talent, or players with connections to the area. But, we’re looking ahead to being able to build a program that attracts top talent from across the State who can live on our campus.”
The new basketball teams will be coached by Nile Finney (men’s) and Tom Ritter (women’s).
Finney, who played college basketball for Rocky Mountain College in Montana, brings eight years of coaching experience to the Firebird team—three of those at the collegiate level. As a high school coach, he led his team to winning a state championship.
“I am very enthusiastic and dedicated to helping student-athletes become the best version of themselves on and off the court,” Finney describes. “I use coaching to teach life skills while promoting an atmosphere of respect, discipline, integrity, and teamwork.”
Tom Ritter is returning to a coaching role at Kirtland, bringing over 20 years of coaching experience to the position. In a previous season coaching the Firebirds, Ritter’s team boasted a masterful 17 and 3 record.
Athletes interested in playing for the Firebird’s basketball team, should complete the prospective athlete form at Kirtland.edu/athletics. For more information about the program or to tour the College’s new Grayling facilities and event center, contact Don Haskin at firstname.lastname@example.org.