As the 2012 Keene State College athletic match-ups continue to rise above and challenge determined players, KSC coaches begin to reflect and discuss the marking of this year’s fifteenth anniversary of Little East Conference play.
KSC switched over from the Division II New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) into the Little East Conference, (LEC) in 1997.
Fifteen years ago, no one could have predicted the overall success that KSC has achieved up to this point. For several coaches who were around during that time, this anniversary marks a significant celebration of a group of athletics team who have left their legacy and continue to strive for the best in the Division III conference.
According to KSC Women’s Basketball Coach Keith Boucher, KSC’s athletic teams were not equally funded back when they competed in the DII conference, which placed a lot of stress on both the department and players to compete with other teams.
Boucher said, “It was like we were always climbing uphill, and slipping on banana peels all the way up because just when we thought we took a few more steps uphill, we’d slip back down.”
Boucher stressed his belief that making the switch to Division III attributed a great deal of success to the entire athletic program, especially because KSC and its competitors are now equally funded.
“I think right now, for the whole athletic program, we’re in a good place because it allows every student athlete to compete, most of the time on a level playing field,” Boucher said.
The ability to compete is the most important aspect of the athletic program, and over these past 15 years, the LEC Conference has given KSC athletes just that, however, from KSC Men’s Soccer Coach Ron Butcher’s perspective, KSC’s rival teams have risen to our playing level, and could beat us in any given year.
“Most teams in the LEC have wanted to be just like Keene State for several years, and have now risen to our level,” Butcher said. “In any given year, we could get beat, which has placed even more pressure on athletes because they feel obligated to carry the banner and keep moving forward.”
Amy Watson, head coach of women’s field hockey, said that even though KSC has accomplished a great deal in the LEC Conference, there are many more teams in the league, that also do fairly well, and especially this year they will have some tough teams to face.
Watson added, “Coaches have begun to ask more of their athletes because Division III has become more competitive over the years.”
Head volleyball coach Bob Weiner said that Division III is still overall the best place for KSC Athletics as a whole.
Weiner said, “If the college wasn’t going to fund the Division II program enough to be competitive, than this is the right thing to do.”
“It’s all about the athletes,” women’s basketball coach Keith Boucher said.
Boucher added, “The ability for them to compete is of great importance to them, and it is only fair that we give them that equal opportunity with their opponents.”
Keene State College athletic teams are off to a good start in the LEC conference this year. Yet the year is young.
Lyndsay Krisel can be contacted