March 6, 2019 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The best community college basketball teams in the region are headed to West Michigan this week, with Grand Rapids Community College hosting a tournament bringing thousands of student-athletes, staff and spectators to the city.
GRCC is hosting the National Junior College Athletic Association DII Region XII District Championship Tournament at the newly renovated Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse on March 7 through 9. The event will determine which men’s and women’s basketball teams advance to the national championships.
“GRCC embraces this opportunity to welcome visitors to our campus and to West Michigan,” GRCC President Bill Pink said. “This tournament is a reflection of the hard work of our student-athletes. But also, it’s the result of our community partners coming together, as they often do, to create spectacular opportunities.”
GRCC’s men’s team is the No. 1 seed heading into the tournament after winning the conference crown last month, cutting down the nets after celebrating last week. The team, guided by Coach Luke Bronkema, tips off against Mid-Michigan College at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
The women’s team earned a spot in the tournament on Tuesday with a thrilling, last-second 60-59 win against Jackson College. The team, led by Coach Dave Glazier, meets Lake Michigan College at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.
The NJCAA, the governing body for community college sports, last year announced GRCC would host the Region XII Championship tournament in 2019 and 2020, bringing men’s and women’s teams from Michigan and Indiana to compete.
The selection came as a result of a partnership between GRCC and the West Michigan Sports Commission, which touted the renovations of Ford Fieldhouse and Gordon Hunsberger Arena along with the region’s accessibility, affordability and attractions. The commission worked with local hotels to offer discounted rates and is providing other services to visiting teams, families and Region XII staff.
"It is important for our region to support community college athletics and our Grand Rapids Community College partner," said Mike Guswiler, president of the West Michigan Sports Commission who submitted the winning bid with GRCC. "This is a wonderful opportunity for student athletes to experience GRCC as a tournament host plus all our community has to offer."
The tournament is one of the first major events at the Ford Fieldhouse after its renovations. The $8 million project included installation of air conditioning and new roof as well as additional classroom space as well as upgrades to locker rooms, training facilities and public areas.
Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.