There is good news and bad news this week from the college on the hill.
The good news: For the first time in Fort Lewis College program history, its Skyhawk Booster Club the fundraising arm of the Skyhawks athletics program surpassed the 700-donor mark.
The bad news: One day later, athletic director Kelly Higgins announced the resignations of sports information director Ben Martinez and assistant athletic director of external relations Clayton Zenner.
Both resignations will be effective Sunday.
There is a plan, Higgins said by phone Friday while driving through the Midwest en route to visit family.
Everything is in place; were just not there yet. I do have a plan in place, though.
Higgins said that plan might not necessarily mean re-filling those positions but reallocating the responsibilities within them.
Ben was an important part of our success during his time with the Skyhawk athletic department, and he will be missed, Higgins said in the news release Friday. Hes a talented individual, and I wish him all the best.
Martinez, a Durango High School and FLC alumnus, was hired at his alma mater Aug. 1, 2008, one year after he graduated from the school and the mens basketball program. He worked in media relations, then became the operations coordinator and sports information director.
It is very hard to walk away from the opportunity I was given here at Fort Lewis, but difficult times require everyone to make hard decisions, he said in the news release. The opportunity given me in private business was just too good to turn down.
FLC athletics will always stay close to me, and Ill continue to be a fan and proud supporter of the Skyhawks. Id like to thank everyone at Fort Lewis for the great friendships I was able to form.
Zenner oversaw the Skyhawk Booster Club on a daily basis, handled all the corporate sponsorships and helped market and promote Skyhawk athletics and assist in game management.
It saddens me to leave this wonderful institution, said Zenner, who will be moving to Phoenix. I truly enjoyed the three years I spent at Fort Lewis and was able to form many great friendships. Ill miss Durango and the people.
Zenner departs on the heels of the success of the booster club.
This years 722 members nearly double the clubs membership from 2008-09, which had just 384 donors, an increase of 88 percent.
When I first began (2008) in my role as athletics director, it was a goal of mine to increase the breadth of our membership when there were far fewer involved, Higgins said in a news release.
Higgins went on to thank club president Eric Jones, Zenner, the coaches, student-athletes and staff.
To top the 700-member mark is quite an accomplishment for an NCAA (Division II) institution such as Fort Lewis College. It takes a complete team effort to reach this milestone, he said.
FLC won three national championships last season: NCAA mens soccer and NCCA mountain bike and cyclocross. The womens basketball team was a national runner-up, and womens basketball and mens and womens soccer hosted NCAA regionals.
The booster clubs continued growth is astonishing, Jones said.
The support our programs receive from all of our booster members, both physically and cheering on our student-athletes and financially supporting our athletic programs, allows our coaches the greatest opportunity for success.
Jones said in the news release the increased support has allowed the club to look into bringing back some of our old-time events and some new and entertaining events over the course of the next academic year.
Higgins said Friday in his phone conversation with The Durango Herald he also expects to name new head coaches for the softball and womens lacrosse programs, perhaps as early as today.
Pam Adams, after 12 years, resigned as head coach of the softball program in June, and Kelley Quessier-McPeake resigned as head coach of the lacrosse program in March.