MATC Expands Athletics, Launches First-Ever Athletic Scholarships

Kristin Kellerman, mother of Will Kellerman

Kristin Kellerman, mother of Will Kellerman

MATC Expands Athletics, Launches First-Ever Athletic Scholarships

MATC announced in May 2018 that the college will advance its men's and women's basketball teams from Division III to Division II play in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) this season. The men's and women's tennis teams began their debut season this fall as NJCAA Division I teams.

This higher level of play gives the college the opportunity to award athletic scholarships and offers MATC a competitive advantage in recruiting student-athletes. The teams are part of the North Central Community College Conference.

The move was part of a larger effort to enhance student life opportunities at MATC.

Healing Through Giving

Kristin Kellerman hugs MATC basketball player Jarreyon Johnson.
Kristin Kellerman hugs MATC
basketball player Jarreyon Johnson.

Kristin and Brian Kellerman, the parents of MATC basketball player Will Kellerman, who was killed in a tragic car accident last November, formed the Opportunity 34 Scholarship Fund as a tribute to their son. They anticipated creating a small scholarship fund to help students from Will's alma mater, Verona Area High School, but were amazed to receive donations from more than 1,000 individuals totaling $194,000.

The Kellermans decided to donate $40,000 to the MATC Foundation Inc. for athletic scholarships because MATC meant so much to their son. "Will always wanted his friends and teammates to have a chance, to be part of a team," Kristin Kellerman explained at the announcement event.

"We thought that if Will couldn't be physically present to be that encouragement, Opportunity 34 could. The scholarships recognize perseverance and passion," she said. "We are so thrilled that our foundation is making its first gift to the last place that Will played basketball. Will was only here a few short months, but he was the happiest we had seen him in a long time. He was given another opportunity."

Kellerman went on to praise MATC Athletic Director and Men's Basketball Coach Randy Casey, Will's teammates, instructors and classmates, and to talk about the sense of family and connection Will felt in the short time he attended MATC.

Big Step for Athletic Department

"The change was a big step for our Athletic Department that would not be possible without the support of Dr. Martin, (MATC President Dr. Vicki J. Martin), the institution as a whole and our external partners," said Casey. "This is just another way that MATC and its partners continue to invest in the young men and women in our community and beyond to give them a great experience without financial worry."

Casey also recognized support from the Al Hurvis/ADAMM Foundation, which helped MATC develop tennis teams and offers independent scholarships to student-athletes interested in tennis. The foundation also supports the MATC Promise for New High School Graduates and college automotive programs.

"We believe in what MATC does, we believe in Dr. Martin and her team," said Nathaniel Lynn, executive director of the Al Hurvis/ADAMM Foundation. "It is a perfect fit for us. The kids we want to support are at MATC."

A sense of the "family-like" nature of athletic teams was pervasive throughout the announcement event. Former MATC basketball player Kenny Foster spoke about the feelings he and classmate Larry Mitchell had playing for Coach Casey a decade ago. Mitchell had lost both his parents, and Foster came from a broken family.

"We were looking for a place to call home," Foster said. "We came from Chicago to Milwaukee to play basketball for Coach Casey and the other MATC coaches. They welcomed us with open arms. We learned a lot of life lessons. What we learned was bigger than basketball. They taught us about accountability and effort."

 

Randy Casey, MATC athletic director and men's basketball coach
Randy Casey, MATC athletic director and men's basketball coach

 

Sparking the Student Experience

In her remarks at the event, Dr. Martin noted, "This athletics initiative is the latest in a series of important commitments that we have made to our students and their success." Examples cited include the new housing options for students near the Downtown Milwaukee and Mequon campuses; access to basic health care services; and a resource center that links students to community services including a food pantry, mental health care and driver's license recovery.

For more information on how you can donate and support MATC students' success, please contact us at 414-297-8514 or visit us online at Donate Now.

 

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