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UPDATED: New Soccer Coach at TMCC Resigns Before Season Kick-off (Subscriber Content)

By Bob Conrad
Published: Last Updated on
Coach of both Men's and Women's Soccer Programs, Nick Arbelaez with TMCC Athletic Director, Dr. Tina Ruff. Image: TMCC.
Coach of both Men’s and Women’s Soccer Programs, Nick Arbelaez, with TMCC Athletic Director, Tina Ruff. Image: TMCC.

TMCC’s head soccer coach, Nick Arbelaez, hired in January, resigned from his post last week. The resignation comes in the wake of Lake Tahoe Community College’s men’s soccer team receiving a two-year ban from California Community College Athletic Association.

LTCC’s men’s team, previously coached by Arbelaez, “was found to have supplied special services for student athletes,” according to a July 19 article in the Tahoe Daily Tribune.

Arbelaez said that he believed he was following the rules. The Tribune reported the following:

Arbelaez told the Tribune that he gave his “blood, sweat and tears” to LTCC and was “shocked, sickened and heartbroken” over the sanctions. Arbelaez said all he did was direct his players to a rental that was available on Kingsbury Grade.

He did so after the rental home that his players had been using for years was taken off the market three days before they were scheduled to report. The owner of the home, according to Arbelaez, informed him that she was selling the property.

The former LTCC coach scrambled and directed his players to a rental on Kingsbury Grade.

“The guys found a place, a five-bed house built for 14 people, 13 players could temporarily fit in there,” Arbelaez said. “The rules are pretty clear, you can guide them but not help.”

The specific language in the bylaw prohibits: “The obtaining, securing, or soliciting of housing for a prospect/student-athlete that is not available to all students at the community college.”

The community college denied the charges by California’s college athletic association.

“We vehemently appealed to the CCCAA,” Athletic Director Steve Berry told the Tribune. “We looked at other institutions and other situations surrounding them, and we thought the sanctions were unjust. We’re obviously disappointed.”

Arbelaez said, when he was hired at TMCC in January, that his athletes had a 91% graduation rate at LTCC. No reason was provided for his resignation.

The college has four other coaches, two each for the women’s and men’s Mighty Lizards teams.

“[Arbelaez’] job [was] split 50-50 between recruiting and coaching both women’s and men’s teams and running day to day operations of the fitness center at $58,000,” TMCC spokesperson Kate Kirkpatrick told ThisisReno.

Brian Slusser has been named head coach in the interim.

TMCC is officially launching its long-developing soccer program Thursday at noon.

From TMCC:

This event will begin with a catered lunch served on the new field. A formal ceremony will follow, which will include honors from the Governor’s office and the City of Reno, a ribbon cutting to honor the new soccer field completed by CORE Construction, a “meet the team” presentation featuring TMCC student-athletes, and prize giveaways for those in attendance. 

Speakers at the event will include: Dr. Karin Hilgersom, TMCC President; leadership from the Nevada System of Higher Education; local dignitaries and others.

Later in the day, the women’s and men’s scrimmage teams will face off against Feather River College. Scrimmages will begin at 3 p.m. when the women’s squad takes the field. TMCC’s men’s team will play at 6 p.m., also on TMCC’s soccer field. Food trucks from Still Rollin’ and Tarzan’s Tacos will be present for both scrimmages.

UPDATE: This story was updated to include information about the interim coach, which was sent to internal faculty and staff by TMCC’s vice president of student services, Estela Guiterrez, after our story was published. TMCC is also removing references to Arbelaez from its website.

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