By Ray Hamill — College of the Redwoods is bringing back football with the goal of recruiting 20-35 local freshmen each year.
The team will begin play again in 2022.
The school announced the decision in a press release late Monday morning, reinstating the program that was suspended last summer because of budget cuts.
The Corsairs are also adding women’s tennis immediately, but there was no mention of reinstating women’s beach volleyball, which was also suspended last summer.
“Offering these two sports will have lasting implications for our effort to build and sustain a diverse student body and build stronger relationships with our local community,” CR President Keith Flamer said.
According to the press release, the decision to reinstate football was made “after a funding commitment by the CR Foundation and an outside study that recommended steps to improve the football program.
“Those steps include prioritizing recruitment of local talent, emphasizing academic achievement and success, and fostering a stronger relationship between the CR athletics department, the community, and local high schools.”
The press release went on to say that the goal is “to recruit 40-70 freshman per year to the football team, with at least half of those coming from Humboldt or Del Norte high schools,” and feature an overall annual roster in the 70-100 range.
“Alumni, parents and community members have taken the time to convey their personal stories of how important athletics, in particular football, has been in their lives,” Flamer said. “For many students playing sports was what led them to higher education. Considering these and other factors, we have decided to reinstate the status of intercollegiate football in fall 2022 and offer women’s tennis.”
CR Athletic Director Bob Brown welcomed the decision and the added emphasis on local recruitment.
“We may not achieve the local recruitment numbers we’re looking for right out of the gate, but that is where we are headed,” he said. “This strategy has worked for both our men’s and women’s basketball teams and we have seen packed gymnasiums and playoff caliber teams come out of it.”
Women’s tennis was added instead of beach volleyball because of the additional opportunities within the Golden Valley Conference.
“In the past, when we pursued beach volleyball it was on the premise that other programs in the Golden Valley Conference would also add the sport, but that never materialized,” Brown said. “There is significant local area high school participation currently in women’s tennis as well as regional community college teams participating, so we are confident we can provide a great opportunity for these students and help grow our female participation in athletics.”
The process to hire a head coach for both programs will begin immediately.