Lack of funding shuts down Eagles baseball program
February 27, 2011 by Josh Saggau
After a disappointing 2009-’10 season, the Kwantlen Eagles baseball program has folded this season.
“The baseball program operated as a club team, therefore it was a self-sustaining program. Although the university provided funds to assist the team in completing its final year, the club was unable to sustain itself financially,” athletics director Elise Le Brun wrote in an email.
The difference between a club team and a varsity team — the basketball and soccer teams are varsity teams — is funding. The baseball team was essentially paying its own way to play. While Kwantlen did contribute some funds to assist the team, it far less than the funding received by Kwantlen’s basketball program.
“The first year I was there, we got a little bit [of funding] and then the second we got even less. It was ridiculous. We almost couldn’t even finish our season the second year because we had no money,” said last season’s catcher Colton Mace.
The program also suffered as a club team in its recruitment of players and the team had just 15 players on its roster last season.
“You get no money, no nothing. You have to pay money out. You’re not going to get a lot of people playing that way,” said Mace.
With plenty of other Premier-level baseball teams, such as the Langley Blaze, in the Lower Mainlaind it was hard to convince athletes to come to Kwantlen.
While both the Eagles and Blaze are self-funded organizations, since 2001, the Blaze have had 26 players drafted by Major League teams. The Eagles have had just two: shortstop Lee Darracott and pitcher Chirs Lemay, both in 2004.
The Eagles did have some success in the early years of the program, including a Canadian College Baseball Conference Championship in 2003, but funding and recruitment difficulties eventually caught up with the team last season. They finished the ’09-’10 season with a 4-20 record and didn’t have a single player hit better than .275 for the season.
Le Brun wrote that “the club was unable to sustain itself financially. Therefore, the club administration made the decision to discontinue its support of the team in April 2010.”
Mace saw the decision a little differently.
“Rob [Webster], the coach, was supposed to get paid but because the school didn’t support it he had to get another job and he just didn’t have time for it. And there were no more guys that wanted to play.”