When Kishwaukee College Athletic Director Scott Kawall was hired in early 2017, the athletic program was in the early stages of a major transition. The program consisted of 29 percent local athletes; the College had a goal to raise that number to 75 percent.
“I knew it was a possible challenge,” said Kawall, “Early on, I saw though working with my coaching staff and district high school athletic directors that we [Kish] could make a significant impact.” His early instinct was correct. The Kish athletic program has grown to include nine sports, up from three in 2017; about 60 percent of athletes are local talent; and according to Kawall, the program has roughly 130 student-athletes.
The nine athletic programs on campus include five established teams: Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, Baseball, Softball, and Women’s Volleyball. The four newest programs are Men’s Cross Country, Women’s Cross Country, Women’s Soccer, and Men’s Soccer, which were added for the 2018-2019 school year.
Men’s Cross Country returned after a long absence and Women’s Cross Country began their inaugural season this year. The first Cross Country meet was Saturday, August 25, at 9:00 am, at the 5th Annual Hawks/Chiefs Invitation at Harper College, Plum Grove Reservoir in Palatine, IL. The top performers for finished 5th in the women’s event and 9th for the men’s event.
Women’s Soccer also began their inaugural season this year. The team played their first game against Rock Valley College on Wednesday, August 22 and won with a final score of 3-0. Their first home game is Wednesday, August 29 at 4:00 pm, versus Waubonsee Community College.
Men’s Soccer has been revived after a five-year hiatus; they won their first game of the season on Saturday, August 25 versus College of Lake Country with a final score of 4-2. Men’s Soccer will have a home game at 1:00 pm on Saturday, September 15 as part of the 50th Anniversary Homecoming event.
Along with the addition of four new athletic teams, Kish has also added eight new head and assistant coaches to meet the growing needs of the athletic program. Kawall said, “All the coaches are very passionate about their sport and supporting our Kishwaukee College student-athletes. They have a breadth of knowledge and I am confident they will build solid, competitive programs along with focusing on our athletes’ academic progress and success.”
Newly hired Kish coaches are: Head Softball Coach Tara Gregait, Head Baseball Coach Mark Hernandez, Head Men’s Soccer Coach Brenton Joseph, Head Women’s Soccer Coach Zac Ludwig, Head Cross Country Coach Richard Collins, Assistant Cross Country Coach Missy Gillis, Head Men’s Basketball Coach Jay Moore, and Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Josh Binder.
The athletic boom at Kish is not only good for the College and local community, it is good for the students. “Ultimately the expansion means our student athletes have found an affordable, comfortable, challenging, yet rewarding opportunity to play the games they love,” said Kawall. He explained the limited athletic opportunities of previous years may have forced students to look elsewhere for a personal college experience in which they could pursue their athletic passion. Kawall continued, “It [the new athletic offerings] gives them additional ways to grow as a leader while completing their academic and career goals.”
He concluded, “I truly believe we have the right mix of sports offerings to best serve our students and the community.”
For more information on the Kishwaukee College athletic program and their schedule, visit www.kish.edu/athletics.