Wharton, TX – The NJCAA recently honored outgoing Wharton County Junior College Athletic Director Gene Bahnsen for six decades of service.
During an informal ceremony held recently on the Wharton campus, Ranger College President Dr. Bill Campion, representing the NJCAA, presented Bahnsen with a plaque. Signed by NJCAA President and CEO Dr. Christopher Parker, the plaque stated that Bahnsen "positively impacted thousands of lives" over his career and that he should be "commended for being such a great leader and athletic professional."
"When we look at storied careers in any book, I firmly believe we will see your name etched forever," Parker stated.
Bahnsen retired on Aug. 31, 2019, after 60 years at WCJC. A native of Vinton, LA, Bahnsen was hired by WCJC in 1959 and coached basketball, football, track and field and taught physical education. Bahnsen was promoted to athletic director in 1965 and has held that position ever since.
During his time at WCJC, Bahnsen guided the Pioneers to various state championships and national playoff berths. He also spent many years officiating at the high school and senior college levels. In 2012, he was inducted into the NJCAA's Men's Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Earlier this year, WCJC officially dedicated the Gene Bahnsen Gymnasium in Bahnsen's honor.
Campion credits Bahnsen with helping him obtain the position of Dean of College and Student Services at WCJC during the tenure of former President Ted Nicksick Jr. The pair also coached against each other during Campion's time at Schreiner University in Kerrville.
"He made a believer in me of having a sense of fair play," Campion said of Bahnsen. "You're a guy that's influenced my life for good in many ways."