I was shocked to hear about the recent firing of Debbie Warren the long time cheer and dance coach of Barton Community College. After 27 years of service to students and the community of Great Bend I could not imagine what would prompted the president and athletic department to make this drastic decision. Deciding to go online to research I was surprised by what I found. Nothing, well nothing but articles and links that were full of accolades for the national powerhouse Coach Warren has built; along with praise from many in the cheer and dance community. You would think a school would love to have the opportunity to employ such a well respected coach and representative for their institution.
I would also like to express my apologies to the current cheer and dance teams who have come to BCC to grow academically, athletically, and personally under the mentorship of someone of such high caliber. I was heart sick to learn many of you are choosing to leave BCC after the loss of your coach. Having been offered cheer scholarships to other colleges (in the last week) for the spring semester it must of felt like somebody out there was finally putting your feelings and needs first. I was lucky enough to become an All-American under Coach Warren’s guidance and I can’t imagine how you are feeling right now to have her removed from the program after all the work and training you have committed to the team. Someday I hope what memories you did make while at Great Bend won’t all be tainted by this event.
In the years since I attended Barton I have met many people who never seem to be as inquisitive of my years of dance as a Classy Cat with Kansas State, the NBA Denver Nuggets and the National Cheerleading Association, or my becoming the director and choreographer of the Colorado Rapids Cheerleaders. Most just want to know about my time spent being a part of a nationally top ranked collegiate team at BCC and how to foster that kind of winning attitude in their own programs. I always tell them I think of our program as similar to “The Little Engine That Could.”
Thanks to Coach Warren we could always hold our own against four year programs, count on her to whip us into a nationally top ranked team, guarantee that she would accomplish this with the upmost respect and class of a coach who would never bring disgrace to the program she built or the athletes who continue to support and stand by her.
As I write this I am still at a loss as to why the President Dr. Carl Heilman and Athletic Director Craig Fletchall would let an amazing coach like Debbie Warren go while the rest of the Jayhawk Conference are trying to emulate her success by hiring many of her former athletes to run their own programs. I hope the board of trustees would reevaluate this decision before causing damage to a program that is held in such high regards throughout the country.
Krystal Hildyard Bolling,
Beverly Hills, Calif.