The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) – of which Essex is a member – track & field and cross country coaches are joining the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Previously independent organizations, the NJCAA Track & Field Coaches Association and NJCAA Cross Country Coaches Association are moving their structures under the USTFCCCA umbrella.
Those junior college coaches and schools – including Essex – will get all of the benefits of full members, starting January 1, 2015. Those benefits include but are not limited to certifications, courses, awards, rankings, polls, and full legislative and administrative support from the USTFCCCA national office.
The move was finalized at the 2014 USTFCCCA Convention in Phoenix. Another benefit of the transition will be that NJCAA coaches can conduct their full business meetings at the convention beginning in 2015.
It did not exactly happen overnight. “This is something that we’ve wanted to do for a long time. The NJCAA sends major athletes to the NCAA and professional ranks, and doing this will help us promote and get recognition for our coaches and athletes. 95% of our membership voted in support of joining the USTFCCCA, so everyone’s pumped,” said Michael Smart, men’s and women’s cross country/track & field coach at Essex County College and the president of the NJCAA Track & Field Coaches Association.
Smart’s counterpart–the president of the NJCAA Cross Country Coaches Association–Dr. Don Cox of Cuyahoga Community College was also pleased.
He said, “The NJCAA track and cross country coaches associations joining the USTFCCCA structure enhances everyone involved. The athletes win, because they’ll receive wider recognition for their accomplishments. The coaches win, because with convention, they’ll have greater access to coaches of the four-year schools that many of our athletes transition to. And the coaches already in the USTFCCCA win, because they’ll be exposed to the unique perspectives of junior college coaches.”
Cox’s and Smart’s new CEO, Sam Seemes, added that “Junior college coaches joining the membership will greatly enhance the association. The only way we are going to grow and thrive as a sport is to move together, and with the NJCAA coaches on board, this is another step forward.”