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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Empty bench this year for the women’s basketball team

Photo illustration of an empty basketball court at the North Gym at City College Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. (Photo Illustration by Sara Nevis/[email protected])

Game night in the North Gym is usually filled with sounds of sneakers squeaking on the gym floor, the ball dribbling up and down the court, and the City College women’s basketball team getting pumped up before the tip off.

Wanting to play basketball at the next level, Destiny Walker transferred from American River College to City College last year because the women’s basketball Head Coach Julia Allender was her former Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) coach, and Walker knew some of the City College players.

“She [Coach Allender] had a good program that she had built,” said Walker. “It had great girls who I had played in high school. And she had all of them come here to play for her. You know she’s a great coach. It was a good squad here.”

At the beginning of the fall 2019 semester it was announced that there would be no women’s basketball team because there were not enough players.

Allender, who resigned at the end of last season, was hired in June 2014 after being the head coach for five years at Ohlone Community College, according to the City College website.

“To not have a basketball team in this day and age when basketball is such a popular sport is a really unusual thing,” said Jones, men’s basketball head coach. “It’s unprecedented for that sport.”

According to Jones, there has been a women’s basketball team since the 1960s, if not longer.

After Allender resigned, new Head Coach Glenn Mayol accepted the position in late May.

According to Mayol, there was no list of prospects provided to him and because it was already late in the year, players had already committed to other schools.

“You had the previous coach, Julia, who did a great job here. She built a nice program,” said Mayol. “But when she resigned, she resigned pretty late in the process. There was no recruiting done throughout the year. And in junior college you have to recruit throughout the year in order to have the kids.”

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Destiny Walker was redshirted last year due to a knee injury and looked forward to being able to play this year. She recalled that Allender gave no inclination to the team that she was leaving.

“It was pretty sudden,” Walker said. “I think we had a meeting to meet as one of our last times as a team after we lost to DVC, and she took us in the locker room and was like, ‘For those of you that don’t know, I’m not going to be coaching next year.’ So it was just dropped on us.”

According to Jones, until Allender officially turned in paperwork resigning, City College couldn’t advertise for her position.

“By the time the season was over, she knew she wasn’t going to be back, is my understanding,” said Jones. “The process of hiring a new coach took a couple months, so now all of a sudden school is over [and] high schools are ending. The recruiting is basically done at that point, and Glenn [Mayol] gets the job, and it’s like, ‘Here you need to go recruit.’ Which he did, but at that late date it was just too late.” 

Mayol experienced a similar situation at his Napa Valley College. Napa did not have a team four of the past six years. Mayol was there for less than one year. While there, he recruited for the current season, so that for the coming semester there is a women’s basketball team in place.

“[City] is a great place to be,” Mayol said. “There is so much support from the top down. My goal is to build this program. My goal is to build it, and we’re going to build it from scratch.

City College Dean/Athletic Director Mitch Campbell said that there has always been a women’s basketball team for the last 13 years he has been at City College.

“We are confident that it is just an anomaly, a set of unfortunate circumstances, and Coach Mayol is going to be recruiting, and we’re going to be back next year as good as ever,” Campbell said.

“For me, I really want to stay, and we’re just going to have to rebuild next year,” Walker said. “Life gives you bumps in the road, and it just makes you stronger and you learn a lot. You just keep moving forward. There’s no going back.”

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