FDLTCC drops football program
January 28, 2022
It’s game over for football at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.
“Leadership … has made the difficult decision to end the college’s football program,” wrote Taylor Warnes, director of marketing and communications, in a press release Tuesday morning. “Budget limitations and a lack of facilities largely contributed to the decision.”
The FDLTCC football program had its inaugural season in the fall of 2007. Over the years the Thunder have struggled to find wins and fields to play on, but persevered in the tough Minnesota College Athletic Conference Northern Division until Covid hit. The Thunder did not field a football team in 2020 or 2021 because of the pandemic.
According to the press release, FDLTCC staff and leadership have reviewed the Thunder athletics program over the past few years in an effort to determine what are the best options for the students and community. The college developed a task force to look into its programs and make recommendations.
The task force recommended keeping men’s basketball, women’s basketball and women’s volleyball and continue to explore other athletic opportunities in the future.
Tony DeLeon was the first coach of the Thunder football team and architect of the program. DeLeon was hired in February of 2007 and fielded a team of nearly 50 players by August.
“It’s unfortunate that the football program is coming to an end,” he said. “I don’t know all of the reasons behind the decision because I’ve been removed from the program for 12 years now, but in the beginning, it was a great opportunity for kids to get a good education and continue their football careers.”
Despite the news, FDLTCC president Stephanie Hammitt says the school will continue to provide other opportunities for their students.
“We realize the importance of activities to student engagement and how they contribute to the overall college experience,” Hammitt said. “We will meet with student groups to investigate possible alternatives or options that we can provide to the larger student body to enhance their time on our campus.”
MCAC-approved sports include soccer, football, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, golf, baseball, softball and clay target.