Article by: Lynn Dollekamp
Jacksonville, FL- Smashing volleyballs, hitting home runs, throwing baseballs, running cross country, or slam dunking basketballs, it is all possible at Florida State College at Jacksonville. The BlueWave Athletics Department is honored to feature six teams: men’s basketball, softball, baseball, women’s basketball, volleyball and has recently added women’s cross country to its 2017-18 offerings. The BlueWave athletes are not only competitive on the field or on the court, but also in the classroom. In the year 2015-16, 27 of the student-athletes made the All-Academic Team for the Florida College System Activities Association with a 3.30 GPA or higher. In addition, the FSCJ baseball team was second in the state of Florida with a cumulative team GPA of 3.27. Athletics at Florida State College at Jacksonville is more than just playing the game, it is about striving for excellence, setting goals, team work and reaching personal goals among many other aspects in life.
College athletics is very important in America, and the director of athletics plays an integral role in the success of the athletic programs of their school. The director of athletics at FSCJ is Ginny Alexander. Alexander is very experienced and has spent more than 20 years in college athletics. She began her career in college athletics in 1988 as a graduate assistant volleyball coach at Western Kentucky University and worked her way up from there. Additionally, Alexander completed her master’s degree in education. Alexander started working at Florida State College at Jacksonville in 2012, as the assistant volleyball coach and became the director of athletics and head volleyball coach in June 2016. Alexander stepped down as a coach to become the full-time athletic director so she could solely focus on her tasks as the director of athletics. The Campus Voice spoke with Ginny Alexander about the athletic department at FSCJ and the role that athletics play in student development.
“It helps them develop life skills such as time management, communication, self-esteem, conflict resolution skills and team building,” Alexander said about the college athletes. Many people believe that sports and winning is what is most important for athletes, but this is not true. As a student athlete, you have to maintain a full-time status during the season of the sport, which is at least 12-credit hours. In addition, the athletes must maintain a 2.0 GPA to be eligible to participate. It is important for students to do good in the classroom, so they can transfer to a four-year degree.
“We provide affordable education for all students and scholarships for upwards of 100 student athletes. This allows those student athletes to develop skill sets in their sport to prepare for the next level as well as academic success through AA and AS degrees,” Alexander said about her student athletes at Florida State College at Jacksonville.
Recently, Alexander has implemented the Blue Wave life skills program to compliment the student-athlete success. The program focuses on five areas: athletic success, community service, personal development, academic success and financial/career success. Student athletes are required to attend seminars to build up their life in different areas such as communication, leadership, and financial literacy while attending Florida State College at Jacksonville. In addition, the athletes participate in community service such as beach clean ups, planting trees, visiting hospitals, and much more. Alexander has successfully run a program similar to Life Skills at other colleges.
“By implementing it at other colleges, I witnessed the positive impact it had on the lives of student athletes. It also creates measurable objectives for success,” Alexander concludes at the interview with the Campus Voice.
The Campus Voice spoke to head coach of the softball team at Florida State College at Jacksonville. Jami Lind has worked for the athletic department for 32 years and will retire next year. Lind is a graduate from Flagler in St. Augustine where she played multiple sports. She has compiled a 1,178-475 win-loss record. Those wins total makes her the third junior college softball coach with the most wins all-time. In 2011, coach Lind was inducted into the Florida College System Activities Association Hall of Fame.
“Over the years my experience with the Athletics Department has been good. I now have my fifth boss and director of athletics, and overall the transitions have gone smoothly,” Lind said. “Overall, I have felt that as a coach, I have been given the necessary tools to succeed and the ability to do things as I see fit. I have felt a sense of trust from those in charge.”
In addition, the Campus Voice wanted to gain some more inside information on what it is like to be an athlete that is currently playing for the Blue Wave athletic department. We spoke to Kailey Perry, a Delaware native that was offered a full-scholarship to play for the FSCJ softball team. Due to hip-surgery, Perry had a medical-redshirt last year and will return in the fall of 2017 to continue her education and playing for the softball team.
“I have worked hard my entire life and to be offered a full scholarship to play the sport that I love the most was very rewarding,” Perry said. Perry was part of the 2015/2016 softball team that made it to fifth place in the State Tournament for softball and was the lead off-hitter and starting centerfield.
“Playing softball has given me the opportunity to go to school and get my associate’s degree. Education is the most important at FSCJ and we have to turn in weekly progress reports to the coaches to make sure we stay on top of our school work.”
In conclusion, The Blue Wave athletic department stands for so much more than just playing sports. The values learned such as goal setting, working hard, discipline on and off the field, teamwork and academic achievement are those that are beneficial after graduation. Are you interested in try outs and scholarship information? Visit the website www.gobluewave.com for more information!