2 minute read

Cougar Sports Zone

Q&A with Athletic Director James Arnold

What are some of the highlights of your first year at CC?

We had a fantastic fall and winter. Men’s & women’s soccer and men’s & women’s cross country won conference championships, with men’s soccer making a historic run in the National Tournament. It was great to see volleyball qualify for another national tournament, overcoming adversity under the direction of a new coach and with only two returners. CC received every fall AMC Coach of the Year award — Volleyball: Allison JonesOlson, Men’s and Women’s Soccer: John Klein and Men’s and Women’s Cross Country: Tracy Jex.

How have alumni and supporters of the program been crucial in your efforts this year?

I have been overwhelmed and blown away by the support of the community, alumni and the extended Cougar family. Without the love and support of those who value Cougar Athletics and Columbia College, I’m certain we would not be able to function and operate at such a high level.

How have you been able to bring your experience and expertise into the classroom as an instructor?

Having the opportunity to be in the classroom was a great treat this year. I miss the direct interaction with the students and really enjoy seeing the student-athletes in a different environment. I have always considered myself a teacher first and foremost, so my approach in the classroom is not any different than it was when running a basketball practice. We want to learn, get better and enjoy ourselves while doing so. Each player on a roster and each student in the classroom is unique and requires different strategies to help them obtain their goals and find success.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought extremely tough challenges to college athletics. How has your team responded?

It has certainly been an interesting and trying year in many ways, but I could not ask for a better group of people to go through these challenges with. There is no instruction manual when it comes to navigating a pandemic, so having our students, staff and the campus community rally around one another is a huge blessing.

There are a lot of unknowns heading into the 2020-2021 academic year. How is your program handling recruitment and additional eligibility?

Our entire staff has been working diligently to prepare for the “unknowns” of the school year ahead. We aren’t sure how the pandemic will affect intercollegiate athletics, but we will be prepared for whatever shape our athletic seasons take. Our coaches are recruiting new students and working to make sure our players are ready when the time is right. We’re also excited the college has found a way to bring back fifthyear student-athletes who want to return and take advantage of the eligibility relief granted by the NAIA.

Give a recruiting pitch on why a student-athlete would want to attend Columbia College?

If you want a high-quality education, a first-class student-athlete experience and live in one of the best college town’s in America, then Columbia College is the place for you. You will be cared for, challenged, find success on and off the field and build lifelong memories. –SF

We want to learn, get better and enjoy ourselves.
Cougar Athletic Director James Arnold (right) visits with Chad Holliday ’94 at the 2019 Cougar Club Golf Tournament. Holliday played on the 1991-1993 men’s basketball teams and is an active Cougar Club member.