Volek garners one last honor at Sierra

By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Just before retiring from his post as athletic director at Sierra College, John Volek collected one last prestigious honor. Volek was named the Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year for the west region at the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics convention in Orlando, Fla. late last month. “It’s really rewarding to accept this award on behalf of all our great coaches, administrators and student athletes,” Volek said. “We have an administration that believes in what we’re doing and that’s given us an opportunity to be successful.” Sierra’s athletic program emerged as a state and national power under Volek’s leadership, starting in 2003. The Wolverines won the inaugural NATYCAA (National Association of Two Year College Athletic Administrators) National Championship for athletic excellence in 2003 and have not finished out of the top four since. Sierra was fourth in 2010-11. Volek retired from his post at Sierra on June 30. He said he was proud that in an era when many junior college programs were being cut, Sierra, for the most part, had maintained and improved its programs and facilities. The Associated Press reported on Thursday that about 40 California junior college teams have been dropped or suspended in the last two years, according to Carlyle Carter, executive director of the California Community College Athletic Association. There was a proposal on the table during the past school year to make cuts to five Sierra athletic programs, Volek said. But the school’s board of trustees rejected the proposal. “We did a study that showed our student-athletes earned more than $2 million in scholarships in the last year,” Volek said. “Our athletes do better (than non-athletes) in a number of academic areas. We put all those facts in front of the board and they made no cuts to sports.” Sierra has yet to name a replacement for Volek, who was inducted into Placer High’s Hall of Fame last fall. He had served as president of the NACDA and was the Dean of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at Sierra. The NACDA includes more than 6,100 collegiate athletic administrators from the NCAA, NAIA and junior colleges. The association recognized 29 directors of athletics representing four regions in each of seven divisional categories last month.