Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC)
One of the NJCAA’s most prolific conferences, the KJCCC is dedicated to achieving the highest goals in the integration of academic and athletic endeavors. Individually, member schools have long been respected for successes both in its classrooms and its stadiums.
In all, the KJCCC is home to more than 3,000 student-athletes on 283 teams in the 14 men’s and 16 women’s KJCCC and NJCAA sponsored sports. The men’s programs regulated by the conference include baseball, D-I and D-II basketball, bowling, cross country, football, golf, half marathon, indoor/outdoor track and field, soccer, swimming, tennis and wrestling. The KJCCC and NJCAA regulated women’s programs include D-I and D-II basketball, bowling, cross country, dance, golf, half marathon, indoor/outdoor track and field, soccer, D-I and D-II softball, swimming, tennis and D-I and D-II volleyball.
Entering the 2019-20 competitive seasons for the men’s championships and women’s title-attaining sports, KJCCC member institutions can boast of 134 NJCAA National Championships in 12 different men’s and women’s sports. In addition, 17 of its 21 members have won at least one national championship, and 14 have won two or more.
The KJCCC has produced more than 5,000 NJCAA All-Americans and a number of athletes have continued to excel on the NAIA, NCAA, Olympic and professional levels.
History of the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference
Organized in 1923, the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference arose out of the special needs of Kansas community colleges to create an organization which would further the best interests of intercollegiate athletics. Originally named the Kansas State Public Junior College Association, the name Kansas Jayhawk Junior College Conference was adopted in 1962. Thirteen years later, the name as it is known today, the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference was adopted.
Composed of five members at the onset, the conference has changed its makeup several times. Long respected as the leader in academics and athletics in the NJCAA, the conference today has grown to a membership of 20 community colleges from the state of Kansas, divided into two divisions, the East and West.
Eight individuals have held the title of commissioner. Carl Heinrich, the current commissioner, is serving his first year at the helm. Heinrich began his service as commissioner in July of 2018, succeeding Bryce Roderick He served one year as his assistant before taking the helm.
At the 2004 Olympics, former Barton County athletes earned a total of seven medals, including three gold medals. Among that group was Veronica Campbell, who won gold in the 200-meters and 4x100, and bronze in the 100-meters for Jamaica, and former Cougar Derrick Brew ran a leg on USA’s gold medal 4x400 relay.
Four years later in 2008, Campbell again took gold in the 200-meters, and former Barton County track stars Aaron Armstrong and Leevan Sands also earned Olympic hardware. Armstrong earned silver for Trinidad & Tobago in the men’s 4x100 relay and Sands took the bronze in the triple jump. For team USA, former Cougar Hyleas Fountain finished with a Bronze medal in the women’s heptathlon and former Pratt baseball standout Terry Tiffee helped USA to a Bronze medal.
Another former Barton County track athlete, Tyson Gay, is considered one of the more decorated former NJCAA track and field athletes. In 2008 at the U.S. Olympic Trials, Gay set an American record in the 100-meters. He was clocked in a time of 9.77, which was the third-fastest time ever in the event. A day later he posted a wind-aided 9.68 which is the fastest ever 100-meter time under any conditions -even faster than the official 9.69 mark set by Jamaica’s Usain Bolt at the Olympics in Beijing. In 2007, Gay became just the third athlete in history to claim both the 100-meter and 200-meter world titles. He also anchored the USA 4x100 relay that won gold. For his efforts in 2007, Gay was selected as the 2007 IAAF Male World Athlete of the Year and the 2007 Men’s Athlete of the Year by Track and Field News.
Major League Players
Former Cowley baseball standout and JUCO World Series MVP Travis Hafner, and Fort Scott first baseman Adam LaRoche have made an impact at the Major League level, and former Kansas City Kansas sluggers David Segui and Kevin Young combined for 27 years of service, 2,419 hits and 283 home runs at the Major League level.
The Jayhawk Conference has also made an impact in the NFL, with over 200 former players having played for all 32 teams in the league. Among that group include former Garden City running back Corey Dillon and former Coffeyville running backs Mike Rozier, who also was the Heisman Trophy winner in 1983 at the University of Nebraska, and Brandon Jacobs, who helped the Giants win two Super Bowls.
Former Jayhawk Conference basketball players have also had an impact on professional basketball. In 1999, former Barton County center Alek Radojevic made history when he was selected in the first round by the Toronto Raptors with the 12th pick overall. On the women’s side, 10 former players have gone on to pro careers in the WNBA and ABL, including former Butler County guard Betty Lennox, who was the 2004 WNBA Finals MVP.
Other Professional Athletes
Several former athletes also went on to pro career in sports different from what they played while attending KJCCC schools. Basketball players Marcus Pollard of Seward County, James’ Buster” Douglas of Coffeyville and Steve Fritz of Hutchinson all went on to have successful professional careers in other sports. Pollard has played 12 seasons at a tight end in the NFL. Douglas is a former undisputed world heavyweight boxing champion, and scored the biggest upset in the history of the sport by knocking out Mike Tyson in 1990 in Tokyo. Fritz was the 1997 U.S. national champion in the decathlon. He also hit the game-winning shot to give Hutchinson the 1988 national basketball title.
Carl Heinrich enters his second year serving as commissioner of the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference, succeeding Bryce Roderick. Heinrich is the eighth individual to serve as conference commissioner.
In his first year, KJCCC schools captured four NJCAA National Championships, and had six finish as national runners-up. The four national championships were attained by Coffeyville in volleyball, Kansas City Kansas in women’s basketball, Barton in women’s indoor track and Cloud County in men’s outdoor track. The six national runners-up were by Garden City in football, Barton in men’s soccer, men’s indoor track, men’s outdoor track and women’s outdoor track, and Johnson County in men’s basketball. In all, 26 teams posted top-5 national finishes in 19 championship sports during 2018-19.
Prior taking over as commissioner, Heinrich served as assistant commissioner, helping Roderick with the day-to-day business of the office and serve as a liaison to the KJCCC’s athletic directors.
Heinrich has over 40 years of service in community college athletics, serving as a coach and administrator. Prior to coming on board with KJCCC, Heinrich served 26 years on the campus of Johnson County Community College. He served in several capacities at JCCC including assistant baseball coach, head baseball coach, academic director for physical education and athletics, program manager for athletics, program coordinator for student activities and as a career counselor from 1991 before becoming athletic director in 2000.
In his 16 years as leader of JCCC’s athletic program, the college achieved unprecedented academic, athletic and administrative success. The Cavaliers claimed nine of the program’s 11 national championships, along with 76 region titles, 80 conference titles, 197 national tournament berths with 61 top-five finishes. Additionally, Johnson County had achieved a top 10 finish in 11 of the 13 years the NATYCAA Cup was awarded under his watch, including three third place finishes, two runners-up and a national cup championship in 2007-08, making Johnson County the only KJCCC program to earn that distinction.
Heinrich holds a professional membership in the National Association of College Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and served on the executive committee representing two-year colleges. Heinrich also served three years as treasurer for the National Alliance of Two Year College Athletic Administrators, one year as second vice president, and served as President of NATYCAA for the 2009-10 academic year. Heinrich also served three years as the assistant Region VI director for women’s athletics, and this fall he begins his 10th year as director of Region VI women’s athletics. Heinrich is also involved with several NJCAA national committee.
Heinrich’s leadership and service to community college athletics has earned him praise and accolades during his 16-year tenure. He was named the NATYCAA/AstroTurf Athletic Director of the Year for 2007-08, and in April 2011 at the NJCAA annual meetings, Heinrich was awarded the George E. Killian Award of Excellence. In June 2013, Heinrich was selected the 2013 winner of the L. William Miller Award by the National Alliance of Two Year College Athletic Administrators (NATYCAA). He was given the award at the NATYCAA Convention in Orlando.
Heinrich also served six seasons as assistant baseball coach and one as head at JCCC. He began his college coaching career as head coach at Highland Community College in 1980. He also served five seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Scotties football team. Before becoming head coach at Highland, he played professionally for the Class A McAllen Dusters of the Lone Star Texas League. Heinrich earned his master’s degree from Northwest Missouri State University in 1985.
A 1978 graduate of the University of Kansas, Heinrich was a former co-captain for the Jayhawks baseball team and served as a graduate assistant. Heinrich was a four-year standout at first base for the Jayhawks, and ended his KU career with a lifetime .288 average, and a reputation as one of the best glove men in the Big 8. He also set school career records for at-bats (648), hits (135) and doubles (19).
|National Championship by KJCCC Member Schools|
Barton County (56)
Butler County (14)
Cloud County (5)
Dodge City (4)
Fort Scott (1)
Garden City (3)
Johnson County (11)
Kansas City Kansas (2)
Neosho County (1)
Seward County (1)