TENNIS

Wilkerson quits LC volleyball job, tennis coach

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GODFREY — Changes are continuing at Lewis and Clark Community College’s athletic department, but LCCC president Ken Trzaska said the path to what he called “the Lewis and Clark Athletics revival” is in Classes.

Bron Wilkerson, who coached the LCCC’s volleyball team as well as the men’s and women’s tennis teams, has quit. Wilkerson said he wants to spend more time with his family as well as his real estate duties. His departure is the fourth among the head coaches who were on the staff of the LCCC in 2021-22, in addition to the position of sporting director.

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Wilkerson’s resignation comes as the 2022-23 season quickly approaches. In fact, preseason practices were allowed to begin Monday per NJCAA regulations.

“I returned it about a month ago,” Wilkerson said of his resignation. “Recruitment is complete. There is a solid group of players and the numbers are higher than in the past.”

Trzaska said: “(Wilkerson’s) resignation was unexpected in terms of timing. I understand his reasons though.”

The team’s first scheduled volleyball action is scheduled for August 24 against Kaskaskia College and St. Louis Community College at George Terry River Bend Arena.

“There are a lot of changes going on at Lewis and Clark,” Wilkerson said. “I would have liked to coach this group. I think over time the LC athletics are going to be in good shape.

“Anyone who coaches this team will have a solid group of players.”

This “whoever” is someone who knows LCCC volleyball.

Former LCCC coach Jim Hunstein is expected to return to guide the Trailblazers. He coached the LCCC for two seasons, then became a coach at Blackburn College

Trzaska said Hunstein’s name will be presented to the LCCC board for approval next week. In the meantime, volunteers have organized training sessions.

Hunstein has over 20 years of volleyball coaching experience. As well as coaching LCCC and Blackburn, he was also an assistant coach at the University of Washington, served as head coach at the now-closed Lindenwood-Belleville, and was hired to coach the men’s volleyball team. -ball at Illinois College in 2019.

Hunstein is a longtime St. Louis area club volleyball coach and USA Volleyball assistant. From 2000 to 2016, Hunstein coached three clubs in the St. Louis area and also served as the head coach of the Capital Area Volleyball Club in Springfield. Since 2012 he has worked with USA Volleyball as a coach and evaluator.

During his first tenure as LCCC coach, the Trailblazers were ranked 15th in the NJCAA’s Division II National Poll.

Hunstein will also coach men’s and women’s tennis, replacing Wilkerson in those roles. Both LCCC teams qualified for last spring’s NJCAA National Tennis Tournament under Wilkerson’s leadership.

Wilkerson said he will miss the players as well as the friendships and personalities from his five seasons at the LCCC.

“Doug Stotler was as good a sports director as you’ll find,” Wilkerson said, “and I’ve known a lot of sports directors.

“The athletic department has a lot of good people.”

Dr Cedric Brown is the LCCC’s new athletic director, replacing Stotler, who stepped down in May. He took up his official duties on August 1.

While Brown replaced Stotler as DA, former assistant coach Kavon Lacey will replace Stotler as men’s basketball coach and guide the team this season as interim coach.

“We believe in Kavon,” Trzaska said, “and we’re extending the interim title for this season.”

Trzaska indicated that after the end of the upcoming season, the position will be assessed and “the probability of removing the interim tag is quite high.”

Other new LCCC coaches in 2022-23 include Justin Bernaix as women’s soccer coach, replacing Tim Rooney, and John Dunn as men’s soccer head coach, replacing Ryan Hodge. Rooney, the winningest women’s soccer coach in NJCAA history, retired at the end of last season. Hodge resigned in June to accept a position at the Jesuit De Smet High School.

Additionally, Alex Ferguson, who had served as interim baseball coach for more than a year, was named head coach earlier this summer.

Trzaska is optimistic about the sports program as an LCCC.

“Things are going well,” Trzaska said. “Dr. Brown started (Monday) and he started running.

“I would like to see the numbers on the rosters double over the next two years,” he said. “We want to focus on the ability to create something that is sustainable.”

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