Nassau Community College will add athletic scholarships to its football program starting with the 2012 season, athletic director Michael Pelliccia said yesterday. The school also announced that former Georgia Tech star Germaine Miles, a graduate of Nassau, will become head coach.
"We are on a two-year mission to bring our program into Division I status [in junior college athletics],'' Pelliccia said. "We are going to scholarships. We have to. The terrain has changed. We're losing kids out of the city that we've always gotten before. They are going to Erie, Lackawanna, upstate, everywhere because they are being offered scholarships. Those are kids we used to have in our back pockets. We have to be competitive. We played Dean [Mass.], who had 30 kids on their roster out of Florida. That's what we've got to do.''
Revenue for the scholarships will have to come from athletic fundraising. No state or county funds will be forthcoming. "We will raise it any way we can,'' Pelliccia said. "Golf outings, dinners, award banquets.''
Pelliccia estimated the annual cost of non-scholarship football at $100,000. That amount would nearly double with the projected number of scholarships at 20. Pelliccia said more men's and women's sports could gain scholarship status later in the decade, mentioning lacrosse as a likely candidate.
Athletes eventually could be housed in dormitories projected to be constructed on adjourning land under consideration for purchase. "That's all in the planning stage,'' Pelliccia said. "Until we get that property, obviously, we can't do it.''
The hiring of Miles, who replaces George Powers, gives Nassau its first graduate in the position. He played at Nassau in the 1990s before transferring to Georgia Tech.
Miles played in the Canadian Football League and with the Dragons in the Arena Football League. He has been a defensive coach for the last eight seasons. Offensive coordinator Joe Osovet resigned to pursue other opportunities.
Nassau's announcement comes about a month after Hofstra dropped its scholarship program in football. Pelliccia said that was not the impetus for Nassau's move, which had been contemplated for some time.