The following is an interview with Ron Gonzales, who is overseeing the softball and baseball programs at Luna Community College. Have you already met with the student-athletes and coaches and if you did, what did you tell them? I have had the opportunity to meet with the head coaches and staff to discuss the goals and objectives of the program, with the main goal being to provide an environment that promotes personal, academic, athletic and social development with the strong emphasis on academic achievement. What are some of your academic goals for your student-athletes? In discussing this with the coaches, we share the vision that the LCC student-athletes not only excel in their sports career but also excel in their academic studies so that they achieve academic recognition through the NJCAA achievement programs as well as here at LCC. The main goal is to ensure that LCC athletes are prepared in their academic studies to either continue the educational quest or be prepared to enter their chosen profession. Would you still like to see the majority of your student-athletes from New Mexico? I would still like to see this continue. This is how the program was started, and I personally feel that New Mexico athletes are sometimes overlooked by larger programs. This also allows the opportunity for some of these athletes to continue their higher education to attain their degrees where otherwise they might not be afforded the opportunity. Have you looked into the possibility of having more home games? We are currently looking at this, but with LCC athletics competing as an independent program in the NJCAA and not being a member of a certain region, LCC has to plan its schedules according to availability of other programs to schedule games. I have asked the coaches that, when scheduling games, that this be a priority. In the future, I would like to see LCC athletics become a member of a region, which in turn would allow for more scheduling opportunities. Would you like to see your student-athletes more visible in the community? If so, what do you have planned? The athletic department is currently developing a plan on how to make LCC athletes more visible in the community with meet and greets, community service events, public school events and other events in the communities. What are your long-term goals for the athletic department? My long-term goal, whether I am interim director or not, for this program is to help develop a strong program not only for the existing sports that are now at Luna but also any other sports that may come in the future. I look at this as part of the big picture for Luna Community College to grow. Have you looked into the possibility of one day having a true home field near the Luna Community College campus? We have been looking at this possibility for some time now and have established a partnership with another agency and will be looking for funding for this to happen. What are your short term goals for the athletic department? To bring stability and accountability to the program through the development of goals and objectives for the program; this will allow our student athletes to excel in academic careers as well as their athletic careers. The athletic department is currently finalizing the student-athlete handbook to present to the president and the board of trustees for review and approval. What is in store to get the college to buy into the athletic program?
I will be asking the coaches and student-athletes to become more involved in other activities and organizations on campus, but I also ask for help from faculty, staff, and administration to support these students-athletes as they come to us for assistance.