TMCC launching new athletic department in 2019

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) Truckee Meadows Community College is launching a new athletic department. The school will debut a pair of soccer teams next fall; the first time they've had sports since the 1970s, when they were known as Western Nevada Community College.

"I think one thing that's great about TMCC is that we offer all types of programs," said TMCC President Karin Hilgersom. "But what we haven't offered, at least for many years, is a program for athletes and for people who really love sports. So this really is rounding out what a community college needs to be."

Tina Ruff was hired as the new athletic director. She comes to TMCC after spending 16 years in the Nevada Athletic Department, where she served in a variety of roles. Ruff's a graduate of Reed High School, and says this fills a role here for local student-athletes. In the past, players who wanted to play junior college soccer had to move out of the area to do so.

"They play their whole youth coming up, and then wanting to play their sport. And they're like, oh I can't play here," said Ruff. "So now they have that opportunity."

They're building a new soccer field along with a new Health and Sports Center, which is being funded by a $5 per credit student fee, one the students themselves approved. $4.50 of that fee goes to the construction costs, with the rest being used as operating costs for the program. And this could be just the beginning of Lizards sports at the school.

"When you have an athletics program, it's just not just two sports. Right?" added Ruff. "It is for now to get it going, but we really want to have a launch point. And so soccer is that launch point."

"If the students are inspired and they'd like to try volleyball, basketball, cross country. I'm hopeful," said Hilgersom. "I hope that men's and women's soccer goes very well. And that the students come back for more."

The Lizards soccer teams will debut in Fall 2019, playing in the Scenic West Athletic Conference. The school will break ground on the new soccer field during a ceremony November 27.