January 13, 2013

Clinton's Dixon still has the passion to remain coaching


---- — PLATTSBURGH — Coaches like to call it a career by going out on their own terms.

For longtime Clinton Community College coach Donna Dixon, however, that may not be the case.

She has coached at the college since 1995 and still feels there are plenty of good years left to enjoy what she does.

But on the Friday before this past Thanksgiving, Dixon found out she was one of 10 faculty and non-faculty members at the college who would lose their jobs due to budget cuts.

Dixon works part time as an Admissions Advisor and part time as an athletic coach at Clinton, which adds up to a full-time job.

She could still be hired as a part-time coach, but would have to find another job elsewhere — something Dixon doesn’t want to do.

“I want to stay here,” said Dixon. “I know it’s a tough economy and I couldn’t afford just being a part-time coach here. I couldn’t do that.”

Dixon is in her 18th season as coach at Clinton. She was a part-time soccer coach starting in 1995 and became the full-time coach in 1999. She has been the college’s basketball coach since 1995 and has coached softball on and off for seven years whenever she has been needed to do so.

“I take pride in seeing the kids develop and mature,” she said. “Wins are great, but it’s not everything. Most of the athletes we have at Clinton are local kids and it’s great that we have been able to get national recognition for them.

“I’ve been able to advise kids and I still keep in contact with many of them. It’s a little different at a two-year school than at a four-year school because of the turnover rate. But I love coaching and haven’t lost the passion for it.

“You see the difference in the kids and it helps keep

me young.”

The Clinton women’s soccer team has advanced to the regional tournament every year since 2000.

The Cougars went unbeaten in 2003 and captured the NJCAA Division III national championship in 2010. Dixon’s career coaching record stands at 169-55-12.

Dixon’s women’s basketball teams have compiled a 181-235 overall record, including two trips to the Elite Eight the past two years. Last season, the Cougars set a school record with 19 wins.

Dixon has been chosen Mountain Valley Conference Coach of the Year two times in soccer, as well as being the MVC Coach of the Year and the Region III Coach of the Year in basketball last season.

She was national soccer Coach of the Year in 2010 and 48 percent of her athletes have graduated, well above the college average.

“Donna, as a coach, pushed you to the limit,” said former soccer standout Kaleen McCool. “She definitely got the best out of you and was a mentor both on and off the field. She was always there to support us — she was like a family member.

“She’s personable and was there to advise us when it was needed. She’s a great member of the community and not having her coach would not only impact the sports program at Clinton, but it would also be difficult for the college to find that caliber a coach.”

The college’s regular board meeting will be held on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the Theatre and a large number of parents, former players and current players, including McCool, Kim and Emily Lashway, Saania Duprey and Karissa House-Devins, will be there to speak on

Dixon’s behalf.