by NICK ALVARADO//Sports Editor
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.
Joe Tubb, who has served as the athletic director at South Plains College for 33 years, announced his retirement at the end of the spring semester, on May 31. For Tubb, it is bittersweet after the years he has put in.
“I love South Plains College, and I love my years here,” Tubb said. “But there’s been enough of them, and it’s time. Time for someone else, and someone younger, to come in and start with some new fresh ideas and in the right direction.”
Tubb started his 34th year, but that changed on Sept. 9 when the new athletic director was announced during a press conference held at the Texan Club in Texan Dome.
As an athletic director, Tubb has seen 42 NJCAA Championships in track and field, cross country, half-marathon and men’s basketball, along with some high-profile coaches and athletes.
“South Plains College produces an atmosphere that gives us a chance to employ some really good people,” Tubb said. “I’ve been fortunate to hire so many great coaches. They also provide for a great student life, so they do a great job at recruiting to participate for us. So yes, we really had some high-quality athletes that have gone and done some great things.”
Tubb began his tenure in 1983. He says that he did not expect his time to be this long. Tubb stated that before his time at South Plains College, he was a high school coach for 12 years that included stints at Palo Duro High School, Shallowater High School, Hereford High School and Odessa High School.
“I coached, and this opportunity came open,” Tubb said. “I’ll try this if they have me, and if I don’t like it, I’ll get a coaching job. It so happens that this is a great place. That one year turned into two and two turned into 34. It was very enjoyable.”
In 2006 and 2010, Tubb was awarded National Athletic Director of the year by the National Association of College Athletic Directors. Tubb also served as the first vice president of the NJCAA when he was elected in 2010. He eventually became president during his tenure.
In 2015, Tubb was presented the NJCAA Appreciation Award for his service as vice president and president.
Tubb also says that SPC was a great place to raise his children, and it gave him a chance to be home a lot more often than when he was coaching.
With all the coaches who have gone through the SPC athletic program, there have been some notable ones who have had an impact on Tubb’s career as athletic director.
“I think that nearly all of the good ones did,” Tubb said. “Coaches are just like student-athletes, and students teach you something every day, if your ears and eyes are open. If you have as many good coaches as I had with me working here from the very first time I came until now, I continually learn from the people that are working with me. Presidents, coaches, trainers, I’ve had some great ones to work with.”
In addition to high-level coaches, there have been high-level athletes as well, including some who have received an opportunity to perform on the biggest stage of sports, the Olympics.
“Over the years, I don’t even want to guess how many Olympians we had,” Tubb said. “It would be in the 50s, I imagine. I can remember back when we had our first one in the ‘80s, and then it was two, then four, then six. Almost every Olympics, we had quite a few. We have a lot of Olympians from here.”
As the new athletic year is underway, every team will have a chance to compete for the national title. Tubb says that he has high expectations for the athletic programs.
“I think that Coach Green, in the past years, has come out of the box as one of the top teams in the nation.” says Tubb. “I think that will be no different. I think that Coach Petree and the girls basketball team has taken a huge step. I watched them work out the other day, and I think they have some great athletes on the floor. They’re going to have a good year. Our cross country teams went down to Abilene and the men and women won the meet, so they’re picking up right where they left off. Rodeo was women’s WJCAC conference champions last year. Coach [Kerry Doster] is excited about who is coming back in his men and women, so it’s going to be a fun year.”