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JALC Men Move to Division I in Golf

Pictured are members of the John A. Logan College men’s golf team for 2013-14. Following board action Tuesday night, the Volunteers officially moved from Division II standing to Division I in postseason competition within the National Junior College Athletic Association. There wasn’t anything left for head coach Tom Ferris and the Vols to conquer at the Division II level with a pair of national titles (2009 and 2011) and several runner-up finishes. (Logan Media Services photo)

Pictured are members of the John A. Logan College men’s golf team for 2013-14. Following board action Tuesday night, the Volunteers officially moved from Division II standing to Division I in postseason competition within the National Junior College Athletic Association. There wasn’t anything left for head coach Tom Ferris and the Vols to conquer at the Division II level with a pair of national titles (2009 and 2011) and several runner-up finishes. (Logan Media Services photo)

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – One of the premier junior college golf teams in America has a new gig.

The John A. Logan College men’s golf team is shedding its Division II status in favor of Division I, effective this school year. What that means is that postseason play next spring will pit Logan against only Division 1 two-year schools. That news should be cause for great celebration amongst Region 24 coaches who no longer will have to be content with a second-place finish at the regional meet.

Why the move?

Simply put, the Volunteers have nothing left to prove in Division II. They have won the national championship twice (2009 and 2011). They have made 13 consecutive trips to the national tournament, including several second- and third-place finishes. They have claimed the Region 24 title 11 of the last 13 years.

JALC men’s golf coach Tom Ferris, beginning his 15th year at the helm, is shown here with sophomore Michael Mencaccy at the national tournament last May in Scottsboro, Ala. (Logan Media Services photo)

JALC men’s golf coach Tom Ferris, beginning his 15th year at the helm, is shown here with sophomore Michael Mencaccy at the national tournament last May in Scottsboro, Ala. (Logan Media Services photo)

Even though there is not a great discrepancy in talent between Division I and II schools in men’s golf, at least the competition will be different. Moreover, it brings the Vols in line with the other six sports at the college, all of which compete at the Division I level.

“When I came to Logan in 2000, we were established as a Division II program and all the schools in our region were the same,” said JALC head coach Tom Ferris. “We actually had been a Division I program at one time and have continued to play a number of Division I two-year schools, as well as a number of Division I four-year schools, throughout the regular season.”

Ferris said it was simply time for a change.

“Part of the reason why I decided we should make the move is that we’ve accomplished about everything we can in Division II,” he said. “We’ve won the national title a couple of times and been in the final three the last two years. To help our student-athletes move on to four-year programs after attending school here at Logan, I thought it was in our best interest to make the change.”

Ferris said the competition isn’t that much different from one level to the other. In fact, in 2011 when the Vols captured their second national title, the winner in Division I was Indian Hills (Iowa), a team that Logan beat twice in regular-season play.

“It’s always difficult to win a national title whether you’re talking Division I, II or whatever, but overall, I don’t think the competition is that different, particularly between I and II.”

Ferris added that playing different schools from different parts of the country is intriguing.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge as are our kids,” he said. “It was kind of a natural thing to do. I’m pretty sure there are some Division II coaches who won’t be sad to see us leave.”

Last year’s national tournament for Division I two-year schools was held in Texas. The district qualifier was played in Alabama and has also been hosted by Kansas City.