New basketball coach takes helm
Beating out some 200 applicants for the position, Erik Pastrana was Daytona State College’s top choice for the Falcon’s new head men’s basketball coach.
Pastrana, who spent the last year as an assistant coach at Florida International University, brings a decade of experience as an assistant in both NJCAA and NCAA play to his first head coaching position.
“Erik comes to us with an excellent track record, valuable postseason experience and the kind of leadership we want to impart on our student-athletes,” said Tom LoBasso, president of Daytona State. “We have set a high bar for academic and athletic performance at Daytona State and we think Erik will be a great asset to advancing our men’s basketball program in both areas.”
Said Patrana, “I am beyond excited to join Daytona State and help build on an already great reputation of academics and athletics. I have always considered DSC one of the premier jobs in not only the state of Florida, but the country as well.”
Prior to joining the FIU staff in 2016, Pastrana spent three years as an assistant coach under Brad Underwood, a former Falcons’ head coach from 2003-06, at Stephen F. Austin University in Texas. During Pastrana’s tenure, the Lumberjacks won three Southland Conference Tournament Championships, earned two major victories in the NCAA Tournament and posted an overall record of 89-14, 53-1 in conference play over three years. He also coached three consecutive conference players of the year for the Lumberjacks.
“When you find someone with Erik’s experience who has roots tied to our own talented coaching tree, you know you’re getting a quality coach who’s not only going to be a great leader on the court, but who will really bring the best out of our student-athletes in the classroom as well,” said Will Dunne, Daytona State’s athletic director.
Pastrana started his career as a graduate assistant under Frank Martin at Kansas State, 2007-09. In his first season with K-State, the Wildcats finished third in the Big 12 with a 21-12 record, notched their first NCAA Tournament win since 1988 and saw freshman Michael Beasley selected No. 2 in the NBA draft. Kansas State posted another 20-win season during Pastrana’s second year, earning an at-large bid to the NIT.
Student athletes score off field too
Two Daytona State College squads were named National Academic Team of the Year by the National Junior Collegiate Athletics Association for the 2016-17 season.
The Falcon women’s golf team, which won its ninth national championship earlier this year, earned a fourth-straight academic title with a 3.89 team Grade Point Average, the highest of any team in the NJCAA this year. Men’s baseball posted a 3.70 team GPA to earn its eleventh consecutive academic team of the year award.
In total, 13 women’s teams and 12 men’s teams were honored by the NJCAA for posting the best GPA averages in their respective sports. DSC was one of only three schools in the nation to earn titles in multiple sports. Competition for the top honor was tough because NJCAA had a record 740 teams finish the season with a team GPA above 3.0.
“We are fortunate to have very dedicated leaders in our coaches and academic advisors,” said Will Dunne, DSC athletics director. “We have created a program of accountability and support that builds good study habits and drives our students to achieve great things. This is an especially big year for women’s golf. Earning a national championship and the highest national academic honor in the same year really exemplifies the winning tradition we have built here at Daytona State.”
In addition to the team honors, men’s baseball earned 16 individual All-Academic Team honors including first-team recognition for Alexander Hendricks (Jacksonville), Austin Nickle (Palm Bay), Jacob Rothwell (St. Petersburg) and Kyle Frick (New Port Richey). Seven women’s golf student-athletes received individual All-Academic honors as well, including first-team honors for Cam Becker (Lutz), Kendall Johnson (Plant City) and Kaye Kwon (South Korea).
A total of 48 Falcon student-athletes received individual academic honors including 12 NJCAA All-Academic First Team members (4.0 GPA), 18 NJCAA All-Academic Second Team honorees (3.8-3.99 GPA) and 18 NJCAA All-Academic Third Team recipients (3.6-3.79 GPA).
DSC adds cross-country to roster
Daytona State College is expanding its athletics lineup with a new cross country program starting this semester. The new additions are the first in the Florida College System to offer a men’s team in the sport.
“After reviewing a number of options, our trustees and senior staff recognized that adding cross country would benefit the entire college, with minimal investment,” said DSC President Tom LoBasso. “We already have a successful track record in athletics with student-athletes who consistently perform well in school and after graduation. Adding to that will enhance our institutional success rates and give local high school students another avenue to pursue a future at Daytona State.”
DSC will begin rolling out the new program by adding a full-time faculty member this fall. In addition to teaching student success courses, required for new DSC students in the Associate of Arts program, the faculty member will serve as head coach for both the men’s and women’s teams. By the fall of 2018, the Falcons hope to have two, 10-person teams ready to run.
The Florida College System Activities Association currently has seven women’s cross country programs and Daytona State will be the first to offer a men’s team.
Currently, the Falcons have 161 student-athletes in eight varsity sports including men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s golf, fast-pitch softball, baseball and volleyball. DSC offers an all-around sports complex, including the L. Gale Lemerand Health, Wellness and Community Education Center, an indoor pool, two top-notch playing fields and a field house. In fall 2018, the Falcons will add 20 new opportunities for student-athletes in women’s and men’s cross country.
For more information on Falcon athletics, visit DSCFalcons.com.