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Tuesday July 29, 2014

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Former Basketball Players Invited to Reunion
February 14, 2014

Walters State Community College invites all former Senators and Lady Senators basketball players to attend a special reunion. Festivities will begin following the teams’ match-up against conference rival Roane State. The Lady Senators tip-off at 5 p.m., followed by the Senators at 7 p.m. A reception with light refreshments will be held in the new Hall of Fame Room, located near the “Z” Buda Assembly Hall and Gymnasium. Admission to the games and the reception are free.

Senators Coach Bill Carlyle and Lady Senators Coach Dave Kragel have impressive records. Both have been inducted into the National Junior College Athletic Association Hall of Fame.

“Walters State has such a rich athletic history and Coach Carlyle and Coach Kragel have been integral in creating that history for the past 36 years,” said Dr. Foster Chason, vice president for student affairs and director of athletics at Walters State.

“The number of former players from these two outstanding programs that made Walters State basketball one of the state’s premier programs is truly noteworthy. Their accomplishments are visible in the many championship banners hanging in the “Z” Buda Assembly Hall and Gymnasium,” Chason added.

The reunion is a first for Carlyle and he’s looking forward to it.

 “We have never had a reunion of former players and having them back on campus would be great,” Carlyle said. He hopes former players will arrive in time to cheer the current team on against conference rival Roane State.

“Once we get the game over, then we’ll start catching up.”

Kragel has trouble putting into words how meaningful it is to see former Lady Senators.

“To me, it’s so fulfilling when players come back to see a game. I find out what they’re doing. Many have families now and bring them to the game. It’s good to hear what’s going on in their lives and how they have grown,” said Kragel.

“I like to know that the student athletes have gone on to earn four-year degrees, that they’ve become successful. After all, that’s the reason they came to Walters State.”

Kragel imagines the reunion will be like many former one-on-one meetings.

“We catch up, but we also talk about things that happened while they were Lady Senators. Students remember everything. I know there are things that I preach about everyday as a coach. It’s good to hear that students are still using those things in their lives now. You feel like you’ve really had an impact,” Kragel said.

Both Carlyle and Kragel have impressive off-the-court records among their student athletes. More than 150 of Carlyle’s players signed to continue their educations at four-year universities and colleges. Ninety percent of Kragel’s players have earned a degree from Walters State or transferred to a four-year college or university to continue their education.

“We hope this inaugural reunion will become a tradition for these alumni and a tradition that will continue to grow in attendance in the future,” Chason said.

For planning purposes, former players attending should RSVP to Sherry McGinnis, secretary in the athletic office, at (423) 585-6754 or Sherry.McGinnis@ws.edu.