Western Nevada College to hold fundraiser for athletic department

The Western Nevada Wildcats have had an explosive start to their baseball team's program since its inception in 2006.

They started out as a brand new team in arguably the best conference in the country.

"We knew that we had to get real good real fast or we were going to get swallowed up in a hurry," Wildcat Head Coach D.J. Whittemore says.

And that's exactly what the team did.

"We've been to the world series three of the last six years, last year we finished 8th in the country, we've had a program ranked in the top 10 four times in the last six years," Coach Whittemore says.

The list goes on. The team has also collected a number of Academic All-American team honors. In 2012 the Wildcat softball and baseball received the academic honor.

Coach Whittemore brought News 4 out to the field covered in snow to take a look at the baseball complex. He hopes to replace the artificial turf and upgrade the facility soon. The big challenge is budget. According to Coach Whittemore Nevada is one of three states in the country where junior college athletics aren't funded by the state.

"Trying to compete against schools in Texas and Florida which are schools we played last year in the world series they have full-ride scholarships they can offer housing and food things we don't offer," Coach Whittemore says.

WNC baseball can offer 5 out of 24 scholarships. Softball doesn't have their own field they play off campus. They're running two teams off of about a $500,000 budget a year and that's just for the basics, food, travel, and coach's salary.

News 4 met with WNC Director of Development Katie Leao and she explained the importance of having community support.

"We really rely on our community members as donors as the communities college we really look to these people to support our programs," Leao says.

So every year WNC hosts a gala to help raise money. This year there's a surprise. World Series winner and five-time All-Star Matt Williams is coming home to headline the event.

"He is a home town hero, he is the greatest baseball player to every come out of Carson City," Coach Whittemore says.

The 10th annual gala dinner is set for January 24th at the Reno Ballroom downtown.

News 4's Bryan Samudio will be hosting the event as well.

Tickets are $100 and are available through the WNC foundation just call 775-445-3240 or click here.