by Ken Brown
DANVILLE – Overseeing athletic departments at three different schools is no easy task, but early success of the cooperative agreement between Danville-Twinfield-Cabot (CCSU) this past fall in girls’ varsity soccer has athletic director Randy Rathburn optimistic for the future of athletics in all three communities.
In a whirlwind this past summer, the landscape of high school and middle school athletics changed at Danville and Twinfield-Cabot with the announcement of a cooperative agreement to unify all three schools into CCSU Athletics from Caledonia Central Supervisory Union Superintendent Mark Tucker.
Coupled with the sudden resignation of Twinfield-Cabot A.D. David Conover, Rathburn was left to not only fill the void for Trojan athletics, but also help usher in a new era for all three athletic departments. Rathburn has served as the Danville A.D. for seven years and recently completed the certification process as a Certified Athletic Administrator from the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association. Rathburn also worked in the VTSU-Lyndon athletic department, has collegiate coaching experience, and is also a certified basketball and soccer official. When time allows, he also coaches at the youth level in the Danville community.
The first installment of CCSU Athletics was unveiled this past fall when all three schools combined in girls’ varsity soccer. Despite moving up a Division, head coach Spencer Morse led his newly formed team to four straight shutout victories to end the season, including the program’s first Division III playoff win over Lake Region. The infusion of participation numbers created by the cooperative also allowed the program to play 3 junior varsity matches throughout the season.
“The 2023 CCSU girls’ varsity soccer team was a great example of how well a cooperative agreement can work. Coach Morse and assistant coach Cam North did a great job unifying the girls into a cohesive team. The student athletes also deserve a lot of credit for being so open to trying a new nontraditional model. Without doubt the biggest challenge is the geographical space between the three schools and transportation. We never want a student athlete to not play due to transportation issues and we have a lot of work to do to make sure we are including all students who desire to play. The pros of a cooperative team are that it gives all of our students an option to play a sport they love, extend their social network, and to play at an appropriate level,” said Rathburn.
Tucker stated in the original draft of the cooperative agreement that the basketball programs would continue to remain separate, while spring and fall sports programs would combine into the CCSU Athletics at both the varsity and middle school levels going forward. Rathburn notes that there is flexibility within the agreement between the three schools based on participation numbers from season to season and that he will continue to focus on the biggest obstacle of making transportation accessible to every student athlete.
“I would not go as far as to say anything is set in stone. We are under the direction of the CCSU superintendent to form cooperative agreements between the three schools when necessary. We foresee the need to continue the cooperative agreement in girls’ varsity soccer next fall and extend that agreement to our boys’ varsity soccer teams. With that being said, if we have an unexpected increase in fall student athletes, we would consider fielding separate teams. Our baseball and softball teams have been playing as a member-to-member team for a part of the last three years. Our basketball programs will continue to support teams at both Danville and Twinfield-Cabot. Eventually we intend to reach the point where we aren’t the Danville Bears, Twinfield Trojans, or Cabot Huskies when we compete as a cooperative team. We hope to come up with a name and logo that represents all three schools so all feel welcome and a part of something special,” said Rathburn.