National Signing Day took place nationwide Wednesday, Feb. 1. This day presents the opportunity to, mainly, high school seniors and junior college athletes to publicly commit in writing to continue their education and athletic career at a higher level. For many colleges and universities and their athletic coaches, this is the biggest day of the year in the athletic department. In a calendar year, there is typically one signing day designated in the spring and one in the fall. Many schools, both high schools and junior colleges, host big events and some even attract national media attention for those athletes heading to Division I schools.
For the first time, the Hastings College volleyball and football teams collaborated for a National Signing Day event in the Hall of Fame room in Lynn Farrell Arena. While not all of each teams signees were able to attend this event, a number of local signees, 16 in total (13 football, 3 volleyball), were present to sign their National Letters of Intent (NLI). Bronco volleyball coach Matt Buttermore gave his thoughts on the inaugural event.
“It was [Coach] Dave Kimura’s idea,” Buttermore said. “He did most of the organizing so we appreciate him helping out and including us. I think this is something we can grow in the future.”
The recent NAIA volleyball national champions added three new faces to their roster. Coach Buttermore and his staff continued the trend of keeping their roster Nebraska-heavy by inking Elise Baumann (Millard North), Aubrey Frederick (Dundy County Stratton), and Savana Quinn (Southwest High School). Baumann (Millard North) talked about her excitement officially signing with Hastings College.
“It’s really exciting. I am excited to meet all the players,” the newly-signed Bronco said. “I’ve met them once before and I’m just excited to play alongside them. . . It means a lot [to be a Bronco]; the family I’m joining really. . .It feels like home.”
Baumann, who won a state championship with Millard North in her senior campaign, watched the Hastings College women’s volleyball team share a similar feeling as they won the NAIA National Championship in December.
“I actually went to [the NAIA National Championship],” Baumann said. “I went and watched the game and how it turned out was actually how my state final turned out. It was really exciting to see everything that went on there and to go congratulate the girls afterwards.”
Coach Buttermore also spoke about his excitement for this class of girls to join his program.
“We saw them at camp this summer and we’re impressed,” Buttermore said. “. . . This class is going to have a chance to compete for a starting spot, but also, if that doesn’t work out, have a chance to develop and not have the pressure of playing a high level of volleyball right away, which, I think, would be a good for them. . . We’ve got a lot of kids that we think can be varsity starters by their sophomore, junior year, so we are excited about them.”
The Bronco football team signed a total of 35 players nationwide, however, only 13 were present at Hastings College to sign their National Letters of Intent Wednesday, Feb. 1. Nine of the signees in attendance were from Nebraska, eight of which signed as current seniors in high school across the state. The other four future Broncos in attendance were transfer students coming from a variety of places across the nation including: Texas, California, and Louisiana.
Bronco football head coach Tony Harper spoke about his freshly-signed recruiting class.
“Every coach is going to tell you they’re excited,” Harper said. “‘Oh man we’re fired up. We got who we wanted, we didn’t miss on anybody.’. . . I’m going to say the same thing, we’re fired up to who we got, but I think the biggest difference between this and maybe in the past is where the guys come from. A lot of different guys are from the area and that’s a good thing. That’s who we are. . . . whether it’s from high schools or transfers, they all come from successful programs.”
The recruiting class is not the only part of the team that will be adjusting to Hastings College in the fall of 2017. The Broncos recently added Clint Head to the coaching staff naming him Offensive Coordinator. However, this won’t be the first time Head has been part of the football staff at Hastings College as he spent 2007-09 with the Broncos coaching the offensive line. The new addition to the coaching staff comes after previous Offensive Coordinator Grant Mollring left for a head coaching position with Buena Vista University (IA). Coach Head spoke about his excitement about returning to Hastings College.
“This campus is fantastic. The community here at Hastings College, the people here. I can’t even explain it,” Head said. “Being back on campus, walking through and just seeing people that were here before. . . just remembering them. Walking around this place and seeing all the things that have been upgraded and updated, the progress that has been made since I was gone the first time. It’s just neat to see how it’s moved forward the past six or seven years.”
Both the volleyball and football programs hope more sports can partake in a future event similar to the one they held on Wednesday. The future is now in writing for all of the athletes who signed their NLIs to become Broncos and Hastings, NE will soon be their home come the Fall of 2017.