GODFREY — If you run into Doug Stotler this fall, best not ask what he did on his summer vacation.
He won’t have had one.
Stotler, the Lewis and Clark Community College athletics director and head coach of the men’s basketball team, wouldn’t complain, mind you. But his list of summer goings on will be detailed - and full.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Stotler quipped. “There’s a lot happening.”
Stotler has been named to the NJCAA Board of Regents representing Region 24. And while the title sounds impressive, Stotler said he and the rest of the new regents will find out more about their duties and the goals of the National Junior College Athletic Association at a meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina later this summer.
“It’s a new model,” Stotler said of the regents concept. “Previously, there were a men’s and women’s region directors, assistant directors, a secretary and treasurer for every region. Under the regent model, there will be one regent as a liaison between the region and the NJCAA. I’ll be that for Region 24.”
Region 24 includes the southern half of Illinois. And Stotler will be presenting the schools’ interests and concerns to the NJCAA and vice versa.
The NJCAA is undergoing other changes as well. The organization has opened a additional headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, joining the longtime headquarters in Colorado Springs. The Charlotte office will “expand the NJCAA brand,” according to a press release.
Stotler has been serving as men’s assistant director of Region 24. Previously, he was director of Region 16 when he was the AD at Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Missouri.
And there’s a relatively new executive director of the NJCAA, Dr. Chris Parker, who has been on the job a little more than a year.
“We’ll learn more,” Stotler said, “about Dr. Parker’s vision and goals for the NJCAA at a meeting in Charlotte in July.”
But there’s more on Stotler’s plate. There have been school affiliation adjustments, plus he’s looking for a new volleyball coach and women’s tennis coach at L&C.
And of, course he’s been on the recruiting trail for his L&C Trailblazers men’s basketball team.
Lincoln College announced in the spring that its rumored move from a two-year college to a four-year one will come to fruition next fall. Thus, the Lynx athletic teams will no longer be members of the NJCAA. Instead, they’ll become members of the NAIA.
“There had been talk off an on about (Lincoln) going four-year,” Stotler said, “but they didn’t have definitive information on it until recently.”
To take Lincoln’s athletic presence in Region 24, John Wood Community College in Quincy and Spoon River College in Canton will step up.
“John Wood is adding men’s and women’s soccer this year,” Stotler said. “And Spoon River is bringing basketball back in 2019-2020.”
Another new school to Region 24 will be Vincennes University. The Indiana school, one of only two in the state, had been aligned with Region 12, which included Michigan and Ohio.
“Geographically, it just makes more sense for Vincennes to be with us,” Stotler said. “They’re in Indiana, but they are near many of our schools.”
Vincennes has one of the most prolific and successful men’s basketball programs in NJCAA history. The VU Trailblazers compete with the Region 24 Division I men’s teams for the district crown each year with a berth at the nationals on the line.
“This just makes it simpler all the way around,” Stotler said.
VU offers 13 sports, including seven for men and six for women. The Trailblazers compete in NJCAA Division I for basketball, cross country, volleyball and outdoor track and field. They are in Division II for baseball and Division III for men’s golf.
Then there’s Stotler’s L&C men’s basketball team.
“I’m close to wrapping up our last two recruits,” Stotler said. “It’s been a busy spring and summer, but that’s how we like it.”
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