Gillette University brings back football and football, volleyball to do first | Local

June 27 will mark two years since Northern Wyoming Community College’s Community Golf District cut all sports programs outside of the rodeo at Gillette and Sheridan Colleges.

Men’s football, women’s football, men’s football and women’s football started with COVID-19 disease in 2020. Two programs began in 2009 and two programs began in the year. 2017.

Minor changes were made to improve the overall appearance of the Pronghorn Center football stadium when the renovations took place in 2020.

Five days after the cuts, Gillette residents joined a plan to fund sports at Gillette College for the 2020-21 school year with personal grants while working together. measuring a long -term effect. They expressed the view at the July meeting in Sheridan, but the college district board did not agree, partly because he had only spoken to Gillette University and Sheridan University had not attended.

Less than a month after the fund was cut, Campbell County Commissioners met with a working group to help build a new community school district and submitted a petition to the Commissioner. Wyoming Community Golf.

Sen. Jeff Wasserburger, R-Gillette, introduced a bill to establish an independent community school district in Campbell County. The bill was passed in legislature that spring of 2021.

The decision to create a new community school district fell through a special election in Campbell County last August. Voters agreed to separate from the NWCCD by a margin of 4,160 to 1,724 (70%) at the time of the election.

Thirteen days before the two -year anniversary of the cut, the established Gillette Community Golf Club agreed to a $ 16.2 million fundraiser on Wednesday.

The fund – the first in the class after leaving Sheridan – will set aside 6% of the $ 16.2 million fund for sports, or less than $ 1 million. The fund also includes the introduction of volleyball for the first time.

After 717 days of having one sports program at the university, the five Pronghorn teams will return to competition starting in the fall of 2023.

Shawn Neary

Shawn Neary was Gillette College’s former coach for Williston State College during a basketball tournament at Pronghorn Center last year. Neary was fired from Gillette High School after the Northern Wyoming Community College District cut Gillette College’s sports programs out of the rodeo for funding in 2020.

Start again

Shawn Neary is the most successful male football coach in Gillette College history. In 11 seasons, he won 75% of the games he coached.

Neary leads the program in each of the men’s soccer scoring areas. Because he was the only men’s football coach in the history of Gillette College.

Neary was hired in 2008 and taught during the first semester of 2009-10. When the program began in 2009-10, he immediately put up a winning product on the court. The first Pronghorn team posted a record of 18-12, then jumped to 24-7 in its second year.

GC is the male protagonist

Gillette College Pronghorns lead Bradley Akhile, on the right, for a rebound during the game against Laramie County Community College in a home game at the Pronghorn Center in 2020.

In 2014-15, the Pronghorns finished the No. 9 team (27-8) in the country and were even better the following year. The 2015-16 season was the best of Neary’s career with the Pronghorns finishing 35-2 and at No. 3 in the NJCAA tournament. It was the best finish in the nation for a Region IX team since 1963.

The Pronghorns re-entered the national tournament the following year, winning one game and losing one in the entire Sweet 16 to 32-4. Since then, Gillette College has an overall record of 68-27. Neary’s last story was read at Gillette College at 268-70 (.750).

Neary – along with the rest of the college football and football coaches – was fired unwittingly after the money cut was announced. He spent the past two seasons coaching various golf clubs around the country.

He previously participated in the Montana State University Billings men’s basketball program as a volunteer volunteer for the 2020-21 season. After spending one year as an assistant, Neary was hired as a professor at Williston State College in North Dakota.

Neary led the team to an 8-23 record in his first season with the Tetons. But his first season was his last with the team after he left last week.

The main reason he decided to retire was to be able to take the Gillette College men’s football program for the second time in his career.

“It’s a great accomplishment in a lot of ways,” Neary said of the college’s faculty accepting their initial funding. “It just shows that a community is coming together to pay a tax to support their anonymous community school and Gillette has chosen a course to add some really good money.”

The next step on the agenda for the new district is to hire a contestant, said district interim president Janell Oberlander. The athlete manager will then conduct a survey to hire coaches for each of the five new sports.

Neary doesn’t know there is nothing to prove, but she thinks her resume will speak for herself.

“People they hire (as a sports leader) hope to get some idea of ​​the past achievements of the projects,” Neary said. “Hopefully they will also understand why those coaches didn’t study there. But I will go through the process like the other applicants.

Neary isn’t the only familiar face begging for his old work. Liz Lewis spent one season as Pronghorn’s women’s football coach before being released when her team was suspended from school.

Pronghorns Vs.  Dawson CC

The Pronghorns ’Skylar Patton will play hard against Miles Community College during a home game at Pronghorn Center in 2019.

In its first season with Gillette alone, the team finished 21st on the National Junior College Athletic Association rankings.

Instead of seeking further counseling, Lewis stayed in Gillette. For the past two years he and former assistant coach Janie Rayback have taught youth football after organizing the Wyoming Youth Basketball Association. Like Neary, Lewis was thrilled to have the opportunity to apply for his former job at Gillette University.

“After we were cut, I had time to move but I stayed because I love Gillette and I love the place,” Lewis said. “I really enjoy watching sports. It is something I have been waiting for a long time. ”

Neary and Lewis described the last two years of their lives as different times. With no sports facilities available at Gillette University, the two coaches had to look elsewhere for fun and activity.

Gillette College Women's Football Celebration 1

The Gillette College women’s football team is celebrating with a climb after winning the NJCAA Region IX tournament over Laramie County High School at the Regency Athletic Complex in Denver in 2019. Not a year later. After graduating from Region IX, Gillette College cut all sports programs. before the rodeo.

But with the return of the school’s football and soccer programs and the introduction of a volleyball team, the future of the university and the entire Gillette community is in sight, Neary said. That was what led him back to Gillette.

“At a time when Gillette University has agreed to fundraise and they put sports in their money, I think it would be better for me to consider going back to Gillette to live in their hometown again. our community, ”Neary said. . “I want to be in a position where I can ask and interview and hope to get my old job back when it opens.”

The way forward

Oberlander expects the new division to hire a competitor in August or September. The position is a new position not at the university before the budget cuts in 2020.

The sports director will hire coaches to start working at the beginning of next year. The teams will play at the same conference they competed in before the division, the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Region IX district in Chapter I.

The fall of 2023 will be the first sign of corporate competition.

Gillette College men's football

Gillette Pronghorn Donovan Odier keeps the ball from Northwest Trapper Carlos Somolinos Bravo during the game at Thunder Basin High School in 2018.

“I think the most exciting thing is to continue education after high school in our community,” Oberlander said. “Now we can make these decisions for our community. The community has really guided us to be able to make these decisions. “

Josh McGrath, a GCCD coach, is looking forward to spending nights and weekends watching Gillette University re -compete in football. His excitement was similar to being able to watch college play volleyball for the first time.

“People were so excited to go to the games and I think they really lost. I know I did,” McGrath said. “I think there is only one process for Gillette University to become a profession of its own. … Everyone can root for the Pronghorns.


Bodee Mattson from Gillette College and Trae Smith of Casper College were involved in recording the team this week at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper.

The Rodeo program is back

The Gillette College rodeo program is the only sports club to survive until funding cuts in 2020. But that doesn’t mean the program hasn’t been abandoned.

Will LaDuke has been the school’s only head coach for the rodeo program since its inception in 2006. His work has been reduced from full -time to part -time with a cut in 2020.

GCCD’s initial fundraiser is about returning the head coach status to a full gig, Oberlander said.

“This is what makes our rodeo program new,” Oberlander said. “This brings the (head coaching) position to a full -time position and brings more lessons for our teams. I know coach LaDuke is very happy and he can continue to build strong teams. in the future.


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