Northwest College will have two new soccer coaches for this upcoming fall season: Stan Rodrigues as the men’s soccer coach and Jessica Lum as the interim women’s coach. They’ll fill the vacancy created when Rob Hill — who had coached both teams — left in March to be a technical coordinator for a soccer club in Boise, Idaho.
NWC’s soccer started with Hill at the helm.
“It just developed and grew over time, and with a lot of athletic programs, that’s how it starts,” said Lourra Barthuly, NWC athletic director. “You have a building year and start to gain a reputation and [Hill] did a great job with that.”
“When it starts to build a reputation, you start to fill out the teams and the school felt like it needed to start focusing on both the teams,” Barthuly said of NWC’s decision to split the program and hire both a men’s and women’s coach. “It brings in a lot of students and they have a great GPA and retention rate and completion rate with both the teams.”
Barthuly said she’s excited for the women’s soccer team to have their own coach and to be their own team. Because Lum was selected as the interim coach, the college will reopen the position sometime at the end of the fall season.
Barthuly also said that she feels that junior colleges are good for student athletes to hone their skills and get an education, to obtain their associate’s degree and then move on to a four-year school to finish both their academic and athletic career.
“We’re invested in making a great transition for these kids to move onto Division I and Division II schools and finish their bachelor’s program. It’s all about progression,” said Barthuly, adding, “I’m excited with where we’re going to go with soccer — with all our athletics.”
She said athletics are a great connection to the community for the college.
“This school does support its athletics and we want to connect with the community more, and I feel like NWC is really backed by Powell and Cody and it will continue to do that and build that relationship,” said Barthuly.
Going from one to two coaches was effectively a wash for the college’s budget, she added.
“When we had one coach that made a high salary, when you split into two, it tends to equal out,” Barthuly said. “There is no talk of getting rid of one or the other.”
There are about 50 students playing soccer between the two teams.
“Athletics do generate income because it is retaining a student and they’re completing their programs. It’s a holistic approach to completing a program instead of a student just attending a class,” said Barthuly.
She noted the high GPAs and completions among the student-athletes, adding, “Funding for a college is multi-faceted — it’s not just tuition, it’s not just room and board that is bringing in funds for a college. It is also state funding for FTE [full time equivalency] and other things,” said Barthuly.
NWC’s coaches also have teaching responsibilities, so candidates must hold a master's degree and be able to teach in one of the areas where the college offers a major.