A Chief is going to become the Apaches’ new leader.
Kevin Vest, athletic director for Waubonsee Community College Chiefs, has been named the Tyler Junior College athletic director, TJC officials announced on Wednesday.
Vest becomes the fifth AD in TJC’s 92-year history.
Vest has served as athletic director at the Sugar Grove, Illinois school since 2016 and was previously the sports coordinator and head baseball coach for six years at Rock Valley College in Rock Valley, Illinois.
During his time at Rock Valley, he also served as an associate scout for the Philadelphia Phillies and as the bench coach for the Rockford Riverhawks of the Frontier League. Vest started his career in coaching as soon as his playing career ended, serving as an assistant at Illinois College and Knox College before being named the head coach at MacMurray College. He also spent time as an assistant at Springfield College.
Dr. Tim Drain, TJC associate vice provost for student affairs, was the previous full-time AD until Sept. 4, 2018 when he was named to his current position. Chuck Smith, who has been at TJC since 2006, served as interim athletic director. Drain has been TJC’s AD since 2002.
“First, I wish to offer my sincere thanks to Chuck Smith for serving as the interim athletic director during this year of transition,” Drain said. “He did a great job and I am truly grateful.
“It is also my pleasure to welcome Kevin, his wife Alicia, and daughter Macey to TJC. Kevin is a well-respected leader nationally and has been successful in all his endeavors. I have known Kevin for a few years and feel confident in saying that I see the best days of Apache Athletics ahead of us.”
Vest earned his Bachelor of Arts in physical education from Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois, and his Master of Arts in organizational management from Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa.
Vest is a member of the executive committee of the National Alliance of Two-Year Athletic Administrators, men’s regional director of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA Region IV), chairman of NJCAA Region IV baseball and member of the National Association of College Director of Athletics.
“I would like to thank the Tyler Junior College Board of Trustees, (TJC President Dr. Juan E.) Mejia, Dr. Drain and members of the search committee for this extraordinary opportunity,” Vest said. “Throughout the search process, their level of professionalism and commitment to excellence in every aspect of the college experience has blown me away.
“Tyler is one of the premier two-year athletic departments in the country. I am humbled and honored to be chosen to serve as the next athletic director and be a part of such an amazing environment that allows our student-athletes to succeed on and off the field. “Alicia, Macey and I are eager to get to Tyler and experience everything the college and community have to offer.”
Vest assumes his position at TJC on Aug. 19. The Apaches’ 2019-20 athletic year begins at on Aug. 16 when the volleyball team plays at Brookhaven College.
“Tyler Junior College continues to be recognized at the national level for excelling athletically and scholastically. Our 61 national championships and high grade point averages celebrate the leadership and success of our coaching staff and faculty,” Dr. Mejia said. “I am also very proud of the work accomplished by our athletic leadership and honored to work with Dr. Tim Drain, associate vice provost for student affairs, and Chuck Smith, who served TJC as interim athletic director.”
TJC has won a total of 61 NJCAA national championships since 1946.
Vest oversaw a program with 12 sports (baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, and volleyball).
TJC also sponsors 12 sports — baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, football, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, and volleyball.
Previous TJC ADs were Floyd Wagstaff, Dr. Billy Jack Doggett, John Peterson and Dr. Drain.