GLENDALE — When addressing the topic of transferring to a four-year institution, Glendale Community College football Coach John Rome offered sound advice to his players.
"Go where you are wanted and where you are needed to play," Rome said. "Make sure you are comfortable with the coaching staff and academics so that you are happy and can finish up playing football and earning a degree."
Three Glendale college athletes took Rome's suggestion to heart after they recently made commitments as to where they will move on following Wednesday's National Signing Day.
Defensive tackle Cornell McTier committed to NCAA Division II University of Mary in North Dakota. Center Matt Buckley and offensive tackle Richard Avitia chose National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics program Lindenwood University in Missouri, where they have since transferred to.
"The key for me was that they were there in the beginning of the whole recruiting process," said McTier, who recorded 32 tackles (19 solo) and recovered one fumble in 10 games last season. "I wanted to go somewhere where I could start and get my degree in kinesiology.
"I hope I can go there and break some sack records."
Mary, located in Bismarck, N.D., finished 4-7, 4-6 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference last season. The Marauders wrapped up their season with three conference victories in a row under Coach Myron Schulz, the program's all-time leader in wins.
Rome, whose team finished 1-9, 1-5 in the Pacific Conference's American Division last season, said the transfers were offered conducive environments — on and off the field.
"Cornell was a starter for us this year after rotating in and out of the lineup as a freshman," Rome said. "He entertained some Division I schools a little, but Mary said they wanted him and he made the decision that would be the best place for him to transfer and a place where he can continue to play extremely well.
"With Richard, he just jumped out on the film and he took a visit there and liked it a lot. He's very aggressive and plays hard. Matt thought it would also be a good place for him to transfer and being teammates with Richard again. He did a tremendous job for us in the one year we had him and he made a lot of calls on the line."
Buckley and Avitia chose Lindenwood, based in Saint Charles, Mo. Under Coach Patrick Ross, Lindenwood went 9-2, 9-1 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference last season before falling in the first round of the NAIA Football Championship Series.
Buckley, a criminal justice major who transferred to Glendale college from Santa Ana College, said he wanted to experience living in another part of the country and completing his education.
"I felt like this is a good place for me to finish college and get a job and it's where I want to be," Buckley said. "Coach Ross is very competitive and he likes winning.
"Richard said he was going there and I thought it would be cool playing with him again. It helps going to the same place with a buddy."
Avitia, an exercise major, said the program's recent success helped pave the way to transfer.
"Coach sold us on the program in that in order to win in the fall, you also have to win in the spring and summer, and being prepared," Avitia said. "Having Matt around as a teammate is great, too, because we bonded a lot last season."
Rome said 15 additional Glendale college sophomore players might soon be transferring and hope to make their decisions within the next two months.