Dr. Daniel Corr, the president of Arizona Western College, told KAWC that Wednesday’s decision to cut the football program and the El Toro Bowl game was not an easy one.
Dr. Corr said football was not a revenue generator for the college but that it also did not cost as much as critics have charged.
“It’s really a sad day," Corr said. "Football has been an integral part of our campus community almost since we’ve been a campus. It was not a decision we took lightly. We made every effort to retain the football program.”
AWC officials said earlier this school year they planned to play in 2019, but with schools in the Phoenix and Tucson areas dropping football, the costs for playing schools in other states was too much.
“People have pushed back and said we could play games in Texas and Iowa," Corr said. "Of course, but at what cost? When you’re trying to transport about 100 athletes, a lot of equipment, coaches and trainers across the country, you’re talking airplanes, buses and hotels. It would have been cost prohibitive.”
Corr said any first-year football players who wish to stay a second year to earn a college degree may do so. Remaining scholarships will be available for other student-athletes, as well as musicians, artists and honor students.
“The goal, the mission of Arizona Western College remains unchanged," he said. "We are here to serve our students. We are a college of the community. Football was a great part of campus life and we’re going to reallocate those dollars and do different things.”
Corr said parties involved in the decision included Athletic Director Jerry Smith and the former football coaching staff.
End of An Era For Matadors Football
By Jasmine Arenas
After six decades of Matador football, the program has come to an end.
Arizona Western College made the announcement Wednesday. College president Dr.Daniel Corr, in a statement to the college community, said with the uncertain future of the league, the difficulty in putting together a schedule and the inability to fund increased travel, they decided it was best to get rid of the program.
Maricopa Community Colleges announced their intent to end their programs earlier this year.
AWC football players Deandre Wallace and Willie Burns shared their reaction to the news.
Wallace said he was “heartbroken” knowing he has to find another school.
“But at the same time I understand where the coaches are coming from,” he told KAWC.
Burns says it’s a business decision.
“Can’t really do nothing about it. Just get the kids that got to get out by December enough credits and the rest of the kids, they just got to find somewhere else to go,” Burns said.
Dr. Corr said if a player wants to stay and finish their educational goals at AWC they will be allowed to do so.
The Matadors played in the Western States Football League, which was made up of seven teams from Arizona and Snow College in Utah. Since the program began in 1964, thousands of players have transferred to four year colleges and universities.
Arizona Western College Ends Football Program
By Victor Calderón
Arizona Western College is closing its football program, college president Daniel Corr has confirmed.
The move comes as community colleges in the Phoenix and Tucson areas have also shuttered their programs due to budget cuts.
The annual El Toro Bowl game is also ending. AWC lost to Lackawanna College of Scranton, Penn. 17-10 on Dec. 1 at Veterans Memorial Stadium at Gila Ridge High School.
AWC Football Coach Tom Minnick announced last week he was stepping down from his position to accept the coaching job at Garden City Community College in Kansas.
Stay tuned to KAWC 88.9 FM and kawc.org for more information.