When alumni and visitors attend the Homecoming activities on October 11-12, they will quickly notice several improvements that will enhance the experiences of Toccoa Falls College student-athletes and boosters alike. Under the direction of Athletic Director Jason Mehl and Vice-President of Student Affairs Lee Yowell, there is a fresh excitement surrounding Lois Delany Gymnasium this fall as a result of the intentional investment into the lives of current student-athletes.
From the moment visitors step into the gym lobby, they will recognize an immediate cosmetic change to the home of TFC athletics. The lobby has been updated with new carpet and seating areas with leather couches and chairs and the concessions stand is scheduled for a face-lift. About the lobby improvements Mehl says, “It’s important that the lobby is functional. It should be a place for students to hang out before and after practices and before and after games, and a place where parents and other visitors can feel welcomed and be comfortable while they’re here. I’d like to do more, but this is a start.”
Mehl also expressed appreciation to the TFC Maintenance Department which has handled the carpet installation and carpentry projects in the lobby, as well as the installation of new carpet in the men’s and women’s home locker rooms to complement the new pro-style lockers donated and installed by Global Partitions last Spring. “The new lockers rooms are awesome,” said soccer captain Josh Gailer. “The spacious lockers and carpet puts our locker rooms above most of the ones we visit throughout the season.”
The most valuable upgrade from the perspective of the 130 current student-athletes is the acquisition of four 2013 15-passenger mini-buses. TFC committed to a three-year lease of the vehicles, in response to the need created by an aging fleet of vans. In addition to the four mini-buses, TFC has just recently committed to purchasing a 55-passenger bus that will service the needs of TFC athletics in addition to other college-wide transportation needs.
Senior Lauren Howell of the women’s soccer team echoed that elation, “The most exciting addition to our department this year is the new buses. Each is equipped with a flat screen TV and great air conditioning. The seats are really comfortable and do everything except massage; we are literally traveling in the lap of luxury. Overall, these buses are truly a blessing to our department…”
While comfort is important, Mehl says that safety and reliability are the most valuable aspects of the new vehicles. “The mini-buses with the wide wheel base were built specifically to be a safe alternative to vans. And driving brand-new vehicles significantly reduces road-trip anxiety. It’s great to be on a bus where the top maintenance concern is the life of the batteries in the dvd remote.”
Regarding the comfort of TFC student-athletes, TFC Athletics inked a three-year contract with Nike. All teams will be outfitted in Nike uniforms and Nike gear, which will help establish a more consistent identity of TFC Athletic teams.
Alumni and parents of current student-athletes have not been ignored in the current revamping of TFC athletics. The Eagle Club, TFC’s first booster club initiative, was introduced over the summer and will be crucial to the continued progress of TFC athletics. For the first time, boosters can now directly support TFC athletics as a member of the Eagle Club at a financial level that fits the resources of the individual booster.
Members of the TFC community who are spread across the globe can now watch all TFC home games live over the internet. In collaboration with the TFC Communications Department, students are producing, filming, commentating, and directing live streams to TFC fans around the world. “Because our student-athletes are so diverse and come to Toccoa from all over the country and the world, we have several parents who struggle to attend games while their son/daughter is at TFC,” said head soccer coach Rob Worsley. “This is a recruiting tool we can use in the future, but it also immediately contributes to our current student-athletes and their parents.
In addition to the aforementioned overhauls, TFC baseball has won four of the last five NCCAA Div. II national championships, men’s soccer is the defending South Region champ for the first time since 2006, and with three, first or second year head coaches, it is an exciting time to be a part of TFC athletics as a prospective student-athlete, current member of TFC athletics, alumni, or Eagle Club member.
To access the Eagle Club or the online stream please visit the links below.