Cheyenne, Wyoming – Following a tumultuous week for the Laramie County Community College women's soccer program, LCCC President Dr. Joe Schaffer offered some good news to Golden Eagles fans.
"I am pleased to announce that Coach Jim Gardner will stay on as head coach for the women's soccer team for a final season," Schaffer said. "During this year, they will work to prepare for the successful transition of women's soccer and ensure it continues as one of the nation's top programs."
Gardner had been terminated on Monday.
"This has been a trying time for my family and me, and the situation could certainly have been handled more effectively. However, I appreciate President Schaffer's and Athletic Director Clark Rasmussen's willingness to reexamine the decision to end my tenure as coach. I look forward to renewing my passion and devotion to the phenomenal group of women who make up our team.
"My focus is entirely on supporting LCCC athletics, the college, and our students," he continued. "But I plan to retire at the end of the coming season and will do all I can to support our athletic director and LCCC athletics during my remaining time at the college, ensuring a seamless transition for the women's soccer program which means so much to me."
Rasmussen as well is looking forward to the future of women's soccer at the college.
"One of the biggest lessons we teach our students is how to leverage your mistakes to make you stronger in the future. This is one of those situations, and I am pleased that Coach Gardner feels the same and is ready to help us prepare for the future of the program," Rasmussen said.
"Over the next season, he and I will work closely to not only have a successful season, but to also prepare for the successful transition of the program after Jim's retirement."
Schaffer acknowledged that the situation could have been handled differently.
"The problem is, we handled the delivery of that decision poorly and completely forgot about the human side of this work," he said. "I am ultimately responsible when we do not perform the way any of us would expect. That is why I want to offer this public, sincere apology to Coach Gardner for the manner in which we handled this situation. I also want to assure the community that this not a reflection of our typical practice at LCCC."