Looking for a way to get involved in student activities at Collin College but not feeling the student orgs? How about intramural sports? They are a great way to connect with others, build teamwork skills, stay in shape, and, you know, have FUN!

The college recently hired Will Mitchell to help develop an intramural program and give students another reason to stay involved in campus life. Cougar News spoke with Mitchell about intramurals at Collin.

For those who do not know, what are intramural sports and how do they differ from the sports Collin offers now?
Intramural sports are structured sports that are organized within a college and provide a way for people of the same community to be involved in athletic competition with and against each other. Intramural sports are separate from intercollegiate athletic teams, and students do not have to be skilled to participate.  They do need to have the desire to exemplify good sportsmanship, teamwork skills, integrity, and be a good example to their team and other competitors in a recreational environment.

What is your history with sports and fitness?
I have been fond of sports, fitness, parks and open space since my father coached me when I was young and helped create baseball fields where I practiced. Later he facilitated making those areas an official park and city maintained fields as a Councilman in my home town.  I have worked in and over Parks and Recreation Departments for Collin County cities helping all constituents reap the benefits of parks, recreation and open space.
As a resident of McKinney, I was asked to serve on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board by the previous mayor, Bill Whitfield, and the board and city made great strides in planning for additional recreational amenities for the future during this time of extreme growth and increased demands.  I was with the city of Allen for more than 10 years over a division which provided programs similar to intramurals, which included several Collin College students as participants.  I also had oversight of one of their recreation centers.
For another Collin County city, I have had the opportunity to work with a consultant to plan and design a state of the art artificial turf facility with the same vendor selected to install the turf that did AT&T Stadium and the new Ford Center turf in Frisco (“The Star” facility).

Will Mitchell (in blue) explains the rules for dodge ball at an introductory game at Spring Creek Campus (pictured above) in November.

Will Mitchell (in blue) explains the rules for dodge ball at an introductory game at Spring Creek Campus (pictured at top) in November.

Which intramural sports will be offered at Collin?
We will offer what we can within our current gyms, including the traditional sports like basketball and volleyball in the spring. We will have to partner with cities to utilize their facilities and shared resources when they are available for other sports that we may be able to offer.  Sports offered will depend on city partnerships and the resources available after or within their own community’s demands, and then funds to be able to support programs within these facilities.
My previous colleagues have been open to partnering to offer traditional outdoor sports such as slow-pitch softball, flag football, etc.  Wherever the sports are offered, all students at all campuses are welcome, and a recent survey has shown us students are willing to travel to participate.  We will work with what we have and are able to do within the facilities/resources/partnerships available to us.

When are you looking at rolling these sports out?
We are rolling out popular sports such as volleyball and basketball this spring!  Basketball is planned for the Preston Ridge Campus at the first part of the semester with volleyball to follow at the Spring Creek Campus.  Registration started Jan. 17 for both sports, and it is expected to fill up so register now!
A link to register or get more information can be found at www.collin.edu/intramurals.  Students are also encouraged to take advantage of existing fitness center facilities to stay mentally and physically fit, thus contributing to a healthier student body.

What do you think people get out of participating in intramurals?
Students come to a college campus primarily to obtain an education and fine-tune the skills needed in today’s global economy. However, career success requires talents beyond those developed in the classroom. These “extracurricular” skills include teamwork, collaboration, communication, leadership, time management and self-discipline. Research indicates that participating in intramurals is a proven way to foster these qualities.
Other benefits include mental and physical fitness, of course, and increased student involvement and social connectivity, better performing students, as well as better retention.  Participation in intramural sports can improve a student’s cognitive function and lower a student’s stress and anxiety level. Whether a new freshman is looking to meet people and establish friendships, or a sophomore at Collin is seeking to branch out of a group of friends, intramurals compel students to get to know their teammates.