Over the last twenty years there have not been many programs in Region 8 that have had the sustained success that former College of Central Florida head coach Tim Ryan experienced in Ocala, Fl. Ryan who had been the head coach for 17 seasons compiled a 393-155 win to loss ratio while winning the 2013 NJCAA National Championship. Prior to the beginning of this past season, the administration at College of Central Florida informed Coach Ryan that due to monetary struggles the school would no longer offer Men's Basketball. Undoubtedly motivated to reverse the decision of the administration many outraged patrons began social media campaigns to raise money in order to show the school that people around the program cared too much about basketball in Ocala to let it fold. Unfortunately College of Central Florida still closed its doors on Men's Basketball after the conclusion of an impressive 25-7 record this season. Coach Ryan has recently been hired at Mississippi Gulf Coast. Per a released statement Coach Ryan says" My days aren't done yet."
With College of Central Florida closing its doors, what does it mean for the rest of the Mid-Atlantic Conference? Will Eastern Florida continue to be the cream of the crop in the conference? Will Daytona State and Santa Fe return to the status of elite level programs in the state of Florida? Will the absence of another team in the conference promote Mid-Atlantic Conference teams to play more prep schools especially due to the geograpahic concerns brought on by COVID-19?
Interestingly enough College of Central Florida was not the only Junior College Program to close its doors this year. Broward College announced in early the June that they would be cancelling Athletics completely. A devastating blow for a Broward program that was vastly improved under second year head coach Anthony Anderson who compiled a 17-10 record this season finishing second in the Southern Conference. Broward had 4 division one signees this year including DeAndre Pickney a Miami native who signed with University of Southern Mississippi.
So what does Broward's departure mean for other teams in the Southern Conference? With Broward College gone will Miami-Dade College capitalize on a new look Southern conference and return to the Region 8 tournament for the first time in 5 years? What will Palm Beach State roster look like since they will have a late start in recruiting with a new head coach?
With both programs closing down Region 8 definitely looses two programs that were built to compete. The question is who will step up to capitalize on what can now be considered a weaker Mid-Atlantic and Southern Conferences.
Below is a video of DeAndre Pickney from the 2018 HoopMIA JUCO Cookout.