TALLADEGA - Athletic Director Will Ramos is proud of the direction the Talladega College sports programs are heading. This past season, TC had three teams to earn berths in National Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournaments: men’s basketball, women’s basketball and baseball.
“We are very happy in the success that we are having in the athletic program this year,” Ramos said. “I believe that just being here five years ago, we didn’t know that we were going to be this far ahead this year.”
The men’s basketball team had its best season in program history as the Tornadoes won 29 games and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NAIA tournament in Kansas City. Ramos believes with All-Conference players Brandon Peters and Shondel Stewart returning, along with the strong recruiting class coach Matt Cross is assembling, Talladega will have a chance to make a deeper run in next season’s tournament.
“Coach Cross did a very good job of recruiting a very strong class,” Ramos said. “They made it to the Sweet 16 when they went to Kansas City. Out of that, we had a lot of good things from the men’s basketball program. We got tremendous exposure and we rose as high as sixth in the nation, which was the first time in the school history. We were actually on ESPN twice with a player dunking. This year is going to be even better; we have three or four players from that team coming back with national tournament experience. We are very confident that we are going to be at the top again and be one of the top 10 teams in the nation.”
The women’s basketball team faced adversity this past season with former head coach Romeo Lagmay resigning midway through the season, but they were able to stay together as a team to win the conference title and earn a berth in NAIA tournament in Kentucky. TC went 26-5 last season. Ramos believes that with coach Kevin Herod at helm, there will not be a dropoff.
“We went through a transition from having a coach for five years and building a program in Coach Romeo to assistant coach Herod. I truly believe Coach Herod was the right guy for this job. He has been here the last four of the five years. He was the recruiting coordinator for Coach Romeo and he was in compliance for us. I think he has the full package to become a good coach. Don’t be surprised if he is in the top three in the conference this year and in contention to win that tournament at the end. We will not miss too much; it is going to be a smooth transition.”
Ramos led the baseball team to its best season in school history last season. The Tornadoes won 39 games, won the GCAC title and earned a berth in the NAIA Baseball Tournament.
“Baseball had a very good year and I am very excited with baseball.” Ramos said.” We had the best year ever. We had 39 wins and in the first time in school history, we made it to the National Tournament. With that being said, we had 11 seniors on the team. I am very thankful for them ... Now we have to move forward. We are recruiting very hard nationally. We are almost complete nationally. I believe the class we are recruiting is very strong again. All we are doing is trying to move forward and maintain the winning tradition. We don’t want to go backwards. The last three years we won 29, 34 and 39 games. The goal is to get to 40 games and make it to the National Tournament in Idaho.”
The success that the athletic programs experienced this season has helped with recruiting.
“It has been easy to recruit to Talladega College because of the winning tradition now,” Ramos said. “It didn’t just happen in just one sport; it is happening all around. That describes what kind of administration we have. The president is interested in winning and he is also interested in education. He is a big education guy, but he likes for the student athletes to compete and represent the town at the highest level. When the administration gives you everything you need to be successful, all you need to do as a coach is be successful.”
Ramos is also proud of the direction that the softball, golf and the men’s and women’s soccer teams are heading. He believes that volleyball is in a period of transition, but the team will be able overcome it next season. This season, TC added women’s soccer and men’s and women’s track and field.
His vision for the next five years is to build on campus facilities and continue to add sports teams.
“The goal for me as athletic director is to win a national tournament, I don’t care which team it is,” Ramos said. “I think we are going in the right direction. We are very close in three or four sports. We have four good coaches in place at the college and one of the four is going to get it done, not just for the college, but for the city. The next five years, we are going to see the transition that comes with winning. The goal is to get the city more involved, all the community members, the high schools in Talladega and Talladega Central. We are going to start combining and sharing some links so we can work together. In the next three years we want have a new building on campus -- a new student center for basketball and volleyball. It is in the plans already to have two soccer fields on campus and a plan to have a softball field on campus. In the next few years, you are going to see a lot of changes for the good.”