Lee College Athletics reaches goal of donating 20,000 canned goods to community

Student-athletes joined by Lee High School Interact Club for latest donation of 1,300 items

The Lee College Athletics Department recently partnered with students from the Robert E. Lee High School Interact Club in Baytown to donate 1,300 canned goods to St. Paul Lutheran’s Church in an effort to help fight hunger in the local community. This latest donation allowed the athletic department to reach its goal of donating a total of 20,000 canned goods to the community since the “I Can, You Can, We Can” collection drive was started in 2009.

BAYTOWN, TX — With Thanksgiving approaching and many local families in need of help to fill their cabinets and pantries, Lee College basketball and volleyball student-athletes partnered with the Robert E. Lee High School Interact Club last week to donate 1,300 canned goods to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Baytown.

This latest donation allowed the Lee College Athletic Department to reach an ambitious goal set when then-Athletics Director and Head Basketball Coach Roy Champagne launched the “I Can, You Can, We Can” initiative in 2009: to collect 20,000 canned goods to help feed the hungry in the community.

After collecting 1,600 canned goods in the first year of the project, the athletic department has collected and donated 6,100 canned goods this year alone. Even more canned goods are still awaiting delivery to churches, charities and food banks all over town.

“It is a simple act that many of us take for granted — having food to eat,” Champagne said. “Our athletes do a tremendous job connecting to the individuals and families that receive these items within our Baytown community. I, myself, am overwhelmed at the amount of help that is needed just within our own city limits.”

Both Champagne and Head Volleyball Coach Paige Sorge believe Rebel and Lady Rebel athletes have a responsibility to volunteer their personal time and give back to the community in any way possible. Members of the basketball and volleyball teams regularly visit local elementary schools to speak out against bullying and encourage kids to be stellar students and avid readers; spend time with, mentor and cheer on high-school athletes at their games and practices; and help cook and serve free dinners to neighbors in need.

“It’s a good way to show the community they’re thankful and appreciative for all the support and resources they’ve been given,” Sorge said.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 15 school systems. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

More than 900 ‘Pack The House,’ ‘Rock The Red’ for Runnin’ Rebels

"Pack the House," "Rock the Red" game at Lee College
Rooty the Rebel runs along the sideline to pep up the crowd as the Runnin’ Rebels take on the Angelina College Roadrunners in the “Pack The House, Rock The Red” game held Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Lee College Sports Arena. More than 900 fans turned out for the game, which was promoted as a joint effort between the college and city of Baytown. (Photo: Sheree Cardwell, Baytown Tourism)

BAYTOWN, TX — What started as a joint effort between Lee College and the city of Baytown to pack the house for Runnin’ Rebels Basketball ended last weekend with more than 900 fans rocking their red and filling the Sports Arena to cheer on the team against a conference opponent.

Along with the action on the court between the Runnin’ Rebels and the Angelina College Roadrunners, fans at the first-ever “Pack The House, Rock The Red” game enjoyed a lively atmosphere that included games, contests, music, raffle giveaways and the chance to sink a half-court shot for a $500 prize. All attendees aged 18 and under received free entry into the game, as did anyone who brought two canned goods to contribute to the team’s ongoing drive to feed the hungry in the local community. Attendees aged 19 and older received discounted $2 entry for wearing red.

Head Coach Roy Champagne thanked Kevin Troller, assistant city manager for the city of Baytown, for envisioning and promoting the campaign to sell out the Sports Arena in support of Lee College basketball.

“He simply was a fan that felt we had a good product in a great venue,” said Champagne, who has coached the Runnin’ Rebels for more than two decades and made it a priority for his athletes to give back to and connect with the community. The team has completed more than 530 hours of community service since August 2016 and donated thousands of canned goods to local food pantries.

“Our fan base has grown over the last four years,” Champagne said. “Hopefully, many of the fans that came out to ‘Rock The Red’ will decide to attend more frequently.”

Next up, the Runnin’ Rebels will hit the road for an away game against Jacksonville College before returning to the Sports Arena Wednesday, Feb. 8, to take on Blinn College. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

A full schedule for the 2016-17 basketball season and a team roster are available online at www.lee.edu/athletics/basketball.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Runnin’ Rebels hometown duo hopes to play basketball at NCAA Division I level

BAYTOWN, TX – As Baytown natives who grew up playing in local youth basketball leagues and thrilling fans on the court as Goose Creek Memorial High School Patriots, Lee College Runnin’ Rebel Basketball teammates Javonte Cooper and Julian Powell can easily find common ground with the children they meet and mentor in the community.

“These little kids come from the same place and see themselves growing up to be us, and we can see ourselves in them,” said Cooper, who relished the challenge of playing football at Goose Creek Memorial but always had a natural talent for basketball that led him to Lee College. “I tell them to be better than me. Stay on top of your grades and sports will take care of themselves.”

Powell, who rode motorcycles and dirt bikes as a child before trading boots for basketball shoes, shares similar advice with his siblings and the other young people who look up to him: “Learn as much as you can. You can achieve your goals if you put your mind to it.”

Now in their redshirt sophomore seasons with the Runnin’ Rebels, Cooper and Powell are looking forward to reaching their own goal of advancing their basketball careers at an NCAA Division I college or university. Both have battled to earn playing time on a talented team and mastered the more complicated schemes and game plans used at the collegiate level.

Their hard work will be on display this Saturday, Jan. 28, when the Runnin’ Rebels take on Angelina College at the Sports Arena on campus. The team is hoping fans will “Pack the House” and “Rock the Red” for the game, filling the 1,500-seat arena and helping collect thousands of canned goods to feed the hungry in the local community. All fans 18 and under will receive free entry, along with anyone who brings two canned goods. Fans aged 19 and older that wear red will pay $2, while those who do not wear red will pay $5. Tip off is at 6 p.m.

Moving on to a bigger and better basketball program will likely also mean moving away from Baytown, where Cooper and Powell have been able to enjoy the comforts of home and familiar surroundings while adjusting to the rigors of life as a college student-athlete. In addition to a full slate of classes, practices and games, the Runnin’ Rebels have completed more than 530 hours of service to the local community since August. Cooper is also a founding member and president of Reaching Excellence Against Limitations (R.E.A.L.), a student organization that aims to educate and empower black males on campus.

“Playing for Lee College helps me look out for my mom and brothers,” Cooper said. “I’m not long distance so I can reach out and get to them if they need me.”

But creating a brighter future for their families is also why chasing the dream of a professional basketball career is so important.

“My family keeps me motivated,” Powell said. “I want to take care of them.”

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Runnin’ Rebels Basketball makes giving back to the local community a team priority

Program has notched more than 530 hours of service, donated thousands of canned goods

Players serve food at Curt's Kitchen
Lee College Runnin’ Rebels Basketball players Roc Johnson, KaJon Brown and Javonte Cooper serve free dinners to neighbors in need at Curt’s Kitchen, a ministry of Cedar Bayou Grace United Methodist Church, during a visit in August 2016. The team has completed more than 530 hours of service to the community since then and donated more than 6,000 canned goods to local food pantries since the 2015-16 basketball season, and is now looking for fans to “Rock the Red” and bring even more canned goods to the home game set for Saturday, Jan. 28.

BAYTOWN, TX — Between the classes, practices and games that fill their busy weekly schedules, the Lee College Runnin’ Rebels Basketball Team has made it their mission to roll up their sleeves and get to work helping others in Baytown and beyond — completing more than 530 hours of community service since August 2016, and donating more than 6,000 canned goods to local food pantries in the last year alone.

To Head Coach Roy Champagne, volunteering their personal time to support worthy causes is an essential responsibility of being a Lee College student-athlete.

“It’s important for our guys to be a part of the Baytown community,” said Champagne, who started the team’s “I Can, U Can, We Can” collection and donation drive for canned goods. “The Baytown community affords these players the opportunity to get scholarships and be able to attend Lee College. Our service is a small way of trying to give back.”

The Runnin’ Rebels have visited six elementary schools in Baytown and Highlands to speak out against bullying and encourage kids to be great students and avid readers. They’ve cheered for young athletes at youth basketball nights and team try-outs. They’ve pulled on aprons and plastic gloves to dish up free dinners at Curt’s Kitchen run by Cedar Bayou Grace United Methodist Church. They’ve delivered thousands of canned goods to food pantries at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and the Missouri Street Church of Christ, among others. And they’re mentoring students at Charles R. Drew Elementary School in Barrett Station, which the college has adopted as part of its Cradle to Career Network.

Now, the team is asking the community to join their efforts at the home game against Angelina College, which is set for a 6 p.m. tip-off on Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Lee College Sports Arena. Fans aged 19 and older who bring two canned goods will be given free entry in exchange for helping the team reach its goal of collecting 20,000 canned goods to help feed the hungry in the local community.

The Runnin’ Rebels hope to pack the 1,500-seat arena for the game against the Roadrunners and are encouraging all fans to “Rock the Red” and show their spirit. Additional information about “Rock the Red” is available online at www.lee.edu.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Basketball Team rolls up sleeves to serve those in need

Program has also donated more than 6,000 canned goods to local churches & food pantries

Basketball team spends time with children
Members of the Lee College Runnin’ Rebels Basketball Team spend time Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2016, with children at Curt’s Kitchen, a ministry of Cedar Bayou Grace United Methodist Church in Baytown that provides a free weekly dinner to people in need. The team volunteered to assist with serving the meal and also donated 600 canned goods to the ministry as part of ongoing efforts to give back to the community.

BAYTOWN, TX — Members of the Lee College Runnin’ Rebels Basketball Team recently tied on aprons and pulled on plastic gloves to help Cedar Bayou Grace United Methodist Church serve barbecue sandwiches with all the trimmings to people in need in the Baytown community.

The student-athletes also gave 600 canned goods to Curt’s Kitchen, the church ministry that feeds the hungry every Wednesday at the Coat of Many Colors in Baytown. The Runnin’ Rebels have donated 3,000 canned goods to numerous churches and local food pantries since the summer began, and more than 6,000 canned goods since the start of the 2015-16 basketball season.

“It’s important for our guys to be a part of the Baytown community,” said Head Coach Roy Champagne, who joined his players on the serving line at Curt’s Kitchen and invited the diners to attend an upcoming basketball game on campus for free. The 2016-17 basketball season begins in November.

“The Baytown community affords these players the opportunity to get scholarships and be able to attend Lee College,” Champagne said. “Our service is a small way of trying to give back.”

As some players scooped up potato salad and passed out homemade desserts, others filled up glasses of tea for the Curt’s Kitchen patrons and assisted the ministry volunteers by washing dishes and helping to clear tables. Children got high-fives from the team, asked questions and posed for photos with their favorite players.

Basketball team volunteers at Curt's Kitchen
The Lee College Runnin’ Rebels Basketball Team donned aprons and plastic gloves Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2016, as volunteers at Curt’s Kitchen, a ministry of Cedar Bayou Grace United Methodist Church in Baytown that provides a free weekly dinner to people in need. The student-athletes also donated 600 canned goods to help keep the ministry’s shelves well stocked for its patrons. Pictured on the serving line, from left: Roc Johnson, Julian Powell and Javonte Cooper.

Nita Davis, who coordinates Curt’s Kitchen for Cedar Bayou Grace, was impressed by the team’s generosity and willingness to share their time with the more than 100 people served by the ministry each week. In addition to dinner, the church also provides daily sack lunches to children in the neighborhood who would otherwise be unable to eat during summer break. The ministry works strictly on donations.

“To come in and work in the kitchen — that’s what makes you tear up,” Davis said of the Runnin’ Rebels, adding that their gift of canned goods would also make a difference to those in need. “They were so excited and anything we asked them to do, they did. It’s a tremendous thing.”

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Tailgate party set before basketball home game

Sophomore guard Tim Coleman (center) is among the standout players on the Lee College Basketball Team, which will face off Saturday, Nov. 7, against Houston Community College-Southwest in the second home game of the 2015-16 season. Rebel Nation, formerly known as Former-LEE, is sponsoring a free tailgate party to be held from 3:30-5:30 p.m. before the Runnin’ Rebels hit the court. The tailgate is free and open to the community.
Sophomore guard Tim Coleman (center) is among the standout players on the Lee College Basketball Team, which will face off Saturday, Nov. 7, against Houston Community College-Southwest in the second home game of the 2015-16 season. Rebel Nation, formerly known as Former-LEE, is sponsoring a free tailgate party to be held from 3:30-5:30 p.m. before the Runnin’ Rebels hit the court. The tailgate is free and open to the community.

BAYTOWN, TX – The Lee College Basketball Team has devoted itself to community service in the past year, visiting with elementary school students around the city of Baytown. Now, the Runnin’ Rebels are inviting the community to return the love this Saturday, Nov. 7, at the free Red Zone Tailgate Party before their home game against Houston Community College – Southwest.

The tailgate party will be held from 3:30-5:30 p.m., in the Friends of Lee College Mall area behind the Sports Arena, with a rain location in the auxiliary gym. Rebel Nation, formerly known as the Former-LEE alumni association, is sponsoring the event as an ideal afternoon for the entire family. Those who attend will also receive free admission to the basketball game at 6 p.m.

Tailgate partiers will enjoy free food and drinks, and face-painting for the kids. Local high-school athletes will participate in a 3-point shootout contest, and Runnin’ Rebels fans will have the chance to get autographs from their favorite players before they hit the court.

The Lee College Basketball Team has a long history as a breeding ground for top talent from around the United States and even abroad. Under the leadership of head coach Roy Champagne for the last 23 years, more than 100 Runnin’ Rebels have moved on to play at the NCAA level in programs at universities like Baylor and Virginia Tech. Some of the former Runnin’ Rebels have also built professional basketball careers overseas.

Standouts from the 2015-16 squad include sophomore guard Tim Coleman, sophomore shooting guard Branden Jenkins and sophomore forward Duop Reath. All three players rank in the Top 12 Junior College prospects in the country and are being recruited by the Power Six conferences of NCAA men’s basketball.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby Liberty, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 13 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Basketball team set for Rebel Madness, Oct. 24

Rebels taking a shot during a game
Sophomore forward Duop Reath, seen here in a 2014-15 game against Coastal Bend College, is among the standouts on the Lee College Basketball Team who will be signing autographs Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, at Rebel Madness. The meet-and-greet event for players and fans is free and open to the public.

With the regular season set to begin at the end of October, the Lee College Basketball Team is looking to spread Rebel Spirit in Baytown and beyond with a special event for fans to meet the players and see them in action.

“Rebel Madness” will be held 6-7:15 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Lee College Sports Arena. Admission to the event is free, and the entire community is invited to attend.

The Runnin’ Rebels will show off their skills at Rebel Madness with a slam-dunk contest and 3-point shootout. Fans can get autographs from their favorite players, enjoy music and grab one of the 300 t-shirts and other items that will be given away.

The Lee College Basketball Team has a long history as a breeding ground for top talent from around the United States and even abroad. Under the leadership of head coach Roy Champagne for the last 22 years, more than 100 Runnin’ Rebels have moved on to play at the NCAA level in programs at universities like Baylor and Virginia Tech. Some of the former Runnin’ Rebels have also built professional basketball careers overseas.

Standouts from the 2015-16 squad include sophomore guard Tim Coleman, sophomore shooting guard Branden Jenkins and sophomore forward Duop Reath. All three players rank in the Top 12 Junior College prospects in the country and are being recruited by the Power Six conferences of NCAA men’s basketball.

The Runnin’ Rebels will kick off the regular season Saturday, Oct. 31, in Plano, against Odessa College as part of the East v. West Texas Challenge. The first home game is Friday, Nov. 6, against Collin County Community College. For a full schedule, visit www.lee.edu/athletics.