Ohen Trey Anderson took over as Director of Athletics at Victoria College, he wanted to bring a sporting identity that linked the Victoria and Crossroads communities to the junior college.
This meant focusing on building relationships with local schools by any means necessary.
“My plan was to make sure that we as a program were engaged with the community,” Anderson said, “and that they could identify themselves through us as well as us through them. It was a big goal.
One of the first relationships Anderson, 33, established was with Victoria ISD sporting director Spencer Gantt.
As they began to build relationships with each other, they began talking about the size of the facilities and the possibility of hosting NJCAA events.
“We sat down and got together, and I had a really good idea of where he wanted to go,” Gantt said. “Obviously he wants to push their program forward, just like I’m trying to do here. VISD has been an academic partner of Victoria College. So we’re always looking for ways to help athletics and that was kind of a no-brainer.
This partnership is set to take a step forward as VC, with help from VISD and the City of Victoria, filed a bid on Friday to host the 2023 NJCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament. .
If selected, 12 teams would compete for a national championship at VISD’s District Event Center. Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois hosted the tournament in 2022.
VC submitted a bid to host the NJCAA Region XIV Men’s and Women’s Tournaments in 2023, but lost out to Tyler Junior College.
On Tuesday, Anderson was unsure whether another entity had filed a bid with the governing body of junior college athletics.
The NJCAA said two offers for the tournament were filed Wednesday.
“I want athletics to be an identity that people can see as the face of our city,” Anderson said. “I want Athletics to have that anchor. I’m going to continue to be aggressive and try to find ways to bring revenue not only to our institution, but also to our city.
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The 1,700-seat DEC needed repairs to its locker room plumbing to become a viable venue at all levels of competition, prep and college.
Currently, there are no showers or toilets available in the changing rooms at the venue.
With Stroman Middle School set to move full-time to the Liberty Academy campus, those repairs will be made as the new school year begins in August, Gantt said.
Knowing that the necessary repairs will be made in time for the proposed tournament is what made the bid possible.
“Part of keeping Stroman here was that we had to fix these pipes and have running water again,” Gantt said. “From what I understand this is in progress and will be done before school starts next year. Once that is established, we will have everything we need to run a tournament like this.
Anderson spoke to Gantt about the potential of Region XIV’s offering and the two were immediately on the same page.
The DEC has two practice grounds attached, and under the proposed bid, East, West, and St. Joseph High Schools, along with the YMCA, would serve as practice facilities for the 12-team tournament.
“I know some of the renovations they’re doing will be integral to hosting events,” Anderson said. “The event center has a training space where teams can go when we host these events. … The DEC is going to be, I think, a major opportunity for us.
In addition to VISD’s help with a venue, the City of Victoria provided assistance with a letter detailing how the city would help the NJCAA run the tournament, from saving hotel rooms to generating visibility for tournament.
“The Victoria Convention & Visitors Bureau is dedicated to assisting Victoria College and the NJCAA to the best of our abilities for this tournament,” the letter read in part. “We have strong ties with our hotels and regularly offer them the opportunity to provide blocks of rooms and/or special discounted rates for community events, including sporting events, as well as the ability to serve as exclusive host hotels. for selected events.”
The city has experience with events such as the TAAF Winter Games, the annual Claud Jacobs Invitational golf tournament organized by UHV and many other youth sporting events.
“The City of Victoria Convention and Visitors Bureau is ready to help this potential tournament and provide them with a warm welcome and the incredible hospitality that Victoria is known for,” said Joel Novosad, Visitors Bureau Manager. “We will gladly prepare welcome bags with promotional items and informational materials, establish discounts and engagement opportunities for event attendees at local restaurants, retailers and attractions, and work to raise awareness of the community at the 2023 NJCAA DIII Men’s Basketball Championship.”
It’s no secret that any of the NJCAA tournaments can bring an influx of revenue to a city.
According to a 2016 report by the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, the city of Lubbock estimated an annual economic impact of $1.8 million for the largest 24-team, six-day Division I women’s basketball tournament.
“As Victoria strives to position itself in the sports tourism arena, having a flagship event like the NJCAA in our community would help anchor us in an ever-growing market and attract the attention of other property owners. ‘events,’ said Michelle Myers, Victoria’s sports tourism manager. .
If Victoria were successful in her bid, the door would be open to hosting future regional and national championships.
“These tournaments are major financial opportunities for every institution that has the ability to host and every city,” Anderson said. “When I look outside, I see hundreds of family or national restaurants, dozens of hotels and the countless number of businesses that we have. All I see is potential for continued growth for the city. So as I continue to get out into the community and meet with leaders at the city level, it’s… important to know that we as a college support the city of Victoria, and I want athletics to be this identity that people can see as the face of our sports.