This is March Madness for basketball fans across the country and, as the NCAA tournament moves toward the “Final Four”, I wanted to express our college’s appreciation to the many individuals and businesses in our community that support the basketball season here at Seward County Community College/Area Technical School. Thanks to thirteen various businesses who are buy-out sponsors of our games our community can enjoy attending the basketball games at no cost. Additionally, this year we had sixteen businesses and organizations participate in our Green Wednesday campaign as a promotion to community members and visitors to enjoy some of the best collegiate basketball games in the nation.

The teams have an economic impact on our community as well with our visiting teams, fans, and family members utilizing well over 200 hotel rooms during the season, and it is not uncommon for a large number of area high school students to attend a game. All of those visitors enjoy our local restaurants and often shop and purchase fuel in our local businesses during their visit. We estimate that attendance at our games averages over 1100 fans per game while an estimated fan attendance at other Jayhawk Conference games is less than 800 per game.

The cheer and dance team provides great enthusiasm, support and entertainment during the games and is recognized as one of the premier teams in the Jayhawk Conference. They were invited to perform during the NJCAA Region VI Tournament and represented our community with talent, poise, grace, and class. Over ninety percent of the cheer and dance team members are from the Liberal community and excel on the court as well as the classroom. Thirteen members of the cheer and dance team made the athletic director’s honor roll including two members with a perfect 4.0 grade point average.

Our players represented our college and our community well this year and we are very proud of their accomplishments. Our men’s team finished as Jayhawk West Conference champions; Coach Bryan Zollinger was selected as Coach of the Year; sophomore Jeremy Jones was Player of the Year; and three of his teammates also received Conference and/or NJCAA Region VI honors. Our Lady Saints team garnered Jayhawk Conference and/or NJCAA Region VI honors for three of their team members as well. Fourteen of our basketball players were recognized for making the athletic director’s honor roll and two of those student athletes achieved a perfect 4.0 grade point average. These players bring nationally ranked talent to our community, provide quality athletic entertainment and enthusiasm, and often allow us to hang another banner of success in our gym.

We congratulate our teams on their season and wish our players great success on the court and in the classroom. We especially express our appreciation to the community for its support of our student athletes. Enjoy March Madness and plan on another great season of SCCC/ATS basketball next year.

Duane M. Dunn,