News from Montgomery College

900 Hungerford Drive, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850 

Date: November 25, 2002 (02-71)
Contact: Dave Willingham, 240-567-7970; Pager: 301-930-0972
               Steve Simon, 240-567-7952

Budget Challenges Lead to Montgomery College’s 
Discontinuation of Football 

Fifty-five-Year-Old Program Was the Only One Remaining 
Among Maryland Community Colleges 

In the face of severe budget restraints and overall belt tightening, Montgomery College officials announced today that the College will be discontinuing its Rockville Campus football program.

“In a time of increasing budget constraints, the College has decided that it cannot afford to allocate additional resources that would be needed to continue the program’s present quality,” said Rockville Campus Provost Dr. Mary Kay Shartle-Galotto. She noted that Montgomery College has been, for more than a decade, the only community college in Maryland and Western Pennsylvania to field a football team; others dropped the sport in the 1980s. Across the country, 71 of 503 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) schools fielded football teams this past season. (The NJCAA does not include California community colleges).

   
The Montgomery College team’s isolation resulted in increased costs for travel, which this year included trips to Lackawanna, Pennsylvania and Morrisville, New York.  “Providing uniforms, equipment, and other necessities also was becoming more expensive,” said Dr. Mary Ann Beatty, Rockville Campus dean of student development. Dr. Beatty also noted that the football program, which formerly attracted large numbers of Montgomery County students, now is made up primarily of those who come from out of county and out of state.

According to an official College history, MC football began in 1947, one year after the school was founded.  Legend has it that the original team wore uniforms donated by the Washington Redskins; since that time, the Knights’ colors have been burgundy and gold.

The 1947 season’s 8-2 record set a winning tone that was carried forward through the years, especially under the direction of current coach Phil Martin. Martin took over the program in 1982 and compiled a record of 137-58-9, best in school history. Martin, who also is a television production professor in the College’s Department of Visual Communications Technology, was named to the National Junior College Athletic Association Football Hall of Fame earlier this month.

Under Martin, the Knights played for the NJCAA national championships of 1986 and 1990 in the Mid-America Bowl in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The team also went to the 1999 Golden Isles Bowl in Brunswick, Georgia.

Coach Martin said he reluctantly supports the decision to disband the football program. “I understand the urgent financial needs our College is facing in this time of very limited budgets,” said Martin. “I knew it was probably time to end it. [Rockville Campus Athletic Director] Tom Bichy and I came to that conclusion when we talked extensively before meeting with the administration.” 

“Lots of people, especially Coach Martin, have worked very hard to make this program go,” said Bichy.  “The success it has had is a tribute to their dedication and commitment. But we have to face the realities of the situation and recognize that discontinuing football at this time is the right decision for the College and for the rest of our athletic programs. The football program can look back on a proud history, a winning record, and the knowledge that it has helped lot of young people.”

Martin, who was named 1990 Small College Coach of the Year by the Washington Touchdown Club, sent 188 MC players to four-year college teams. Those include quarterback John Kaleo, who was named NJCAA Player of the Year after leading the Knights to an undefeated season in 1990. Kaleo went on to become the starter at the University of Maryland, where he set numerous passing records and was offensive MVP in 1992.

     
Seven ex-Knights have played professional football, among them Lamar King, currently a defensive lineman with the Seattle Seahawks, and standout tight end Bob Windsor, who played for 10 years in the NFL at San Francisco and New England during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Windsor is credited with being the first MC alumnus to play professional sports.

The current football team’s final activity was a meeting today at which players were informed of the program’s termination and promised help with transitioning to other programs. The team finished its 2002 season with a record of 4-5. That brings the all-time Knights’ mark 315-154-13.

Among its three campuses, in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park, Montgomery College will continue fielding 23 teams in 11 sports for men and women.  The College is a member of the NJCAA and, for regional and national tournament play, belongs to Division III, which is made up of schools that do not award athletic scholarships.


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