Forget getting to the pros. Even making it to college as an athlete is highly unlikely.
Most have heard the “99 percent of athletes will go pro in something other than sports,” mantra. It’s an effective slogan, in no small part because it’s true.
Even then though, the number of elite athletes has been sliced significantly.
According to the NCAA, only 480,000 athletes out of over 8 million high school student athletes will get college scholarships, or six percent. Two sports which produce the highest chance of getting a scholarship - lacrosse and ice hockey, both at greater at 10 percent chances for boys and girls - aren’t played in Warren County. Most sports hover around five percent, with basketball being one of the hardest at a 3.4 percent chance for boys and 3.9 percent chance for girls.
Using those numbers, it’d be reasonable to say Warren County’s three schools would produce two, maybe three, collegiate athletes a year. Recently, the Pioneers, Broncos and Lions are trending up.
Whether it’s Krojhn Calbert inking a football scholarship at the University of Tennesssee or the WCHS golf team churning out college athletes, former Pioneers and Lady Pioneers are scattered across the state. Boyd Christian and Covenant have gotten in the act as well, counting a handful of their alumni as current college players.
Maybe Murfreesboro’s push as a recruiting hotbed has led to a trickle-down effect. Perhaps it’s the number of respected coaches with college athletics in their background that help build connections. Whatever it is, college coaches are at least looking.
It’s a great sign for local sports when the current crop of stars help blaze a new trail. Each player who moves on from Warren County adds a college connection and, hopefully, inspires two more to follow their footsteps.
Warren County softball coach Gooby Martin is hopeful the love for sports is already spreading to the next generation.
"One of the most important things for kids looking to make it to the next level is love for the game," said Martin, the WCHS grad who pitched professionally for several years. "It's not easy, but it's easier if you really enjoy playing the game."
Maybe Warren County will one day be a recruiting hotbed. The odds may be against it, but as many local athletes have shown, it’s not impossible.