Vaughn College (formerly the College of Aeronautics) is launching its new athletics program this semester.
Vaughn, a tiny college located in flushing, will support men’s basketball, women’s tennis and men’s soccer this upcoming season.
Vaughn’s basketball team has been around for a few seasons, competing in the New York Urban Professionals league and other such club leagues.
However, according to Amy Mulligan, the Assistant Director of Student Activities, the school and the team decided to go collegiate last season, and competed in the Hudson Valley Conference.
The team finished the season 6-10 overall, mainly due to the adjustment that came from playing older suits to trained college kids.
“It was a shock,” said Mulligan, who serves as head coach for the men’s basketball and women’s teams. “They weren’t fully prepared for it, but for the lack of time and practice that we had, it was a pretty decent season.”
Mulligan said the school’s administration has been very supportive of the athletic endeavors. “They’ve been finding money for us, slowly but surely.”
Without their own athletic facilities, Vaughn will have to be road warriors for the foreseeable future. The men’s basketball practices at a Korean church across the street and plays its home games at Elmcor.
The women’s tennis and men’s soccer both play all-road schedules this coming season. The women’s tennis team practices at the USTA, while the soccer team practices at flushing meadows.
Despite the lack of facilities, student interest is growing. This year will see more than 20 students try out for the basketball team, and soccer team will feature a 22-man roster.
Due to small number of girls at the school, the women’s tennis team has six members.
Mulligan says that school continues to expand its athletics program. Vaughn hopes to add track & field next year. The college hopes to gain full NCAA Division III status in the future.
For now, the school is experiencing the usual growing pains of a developing athletics program. Vaughn does not yet have an athletics website, but posts scores on the main website. They do not have a logo to go with their team name, the Warriors, but hope to have one in the future.
In addition to providing students needed recreation, Vaughn hopes the introduction of athletics will help introduce the to a bigger stage.
Indeed, anyone who has watched the NCAA tournament will be hard pressed to argue the exposure that athletics can have for a university.
“Sports helps with enrollment, and it helps get students involved,” said Mulligan.
For Mulligan herself, who has coached Division I basketball at Dartmouth, the transition to Vaughn has been seamless.
“It’s been fantastic. I have great support from the administration, and the guys on the basketball team know that we want to win.”