Cap and Gown

Cap and Gown is an academic support program specifically designed for all student athletes! It provides an additional 6 hours per week to student athletes of mandatory study and resource support for student athletes outside of their scheduled classes. It includes tutoring support in both English and Math and dedicated faculty members to oversee their progress in a non-credit Guidance course that is no extra cost to the student. The course monitors both attendance and academic progress of students in their courses and stresses the importance of completing assignments on time and properly preparing for examinations through time management, critical thinking and persistence. In addition to the instructors each course is provided mentors/coaches to assist with keeping the students focused on balancing the demands of time with both their studies and the sport they are participating in. 

“I made the honor role because of Cap & Gown. Now I am looking at Division I schools.”

 Carl Bess, Student Athlete, Football
Class of 2015


Since its inception in 2013 the program has grown from a small dedicated study hall for the football program to a fully supported district initiative that supports all athletic teams. In the most recent district accreditation report the program received high commendation for its success and support as a program that has successfully reduced the achievement gap for student athletes. Below you can see the most recent data produced by the program:

Statistics of Success


Academic Success:
Student Athletes 78.25%, District Average 73%

Retention Rates:
Student Athletes 97%, District Average 88%


Academic Success:
Student Athletes 75.23%, District Average 72%

Retention Rates:
Student Athletes 96.6%, District Average 88%


“We are letting our student-athletes down if we allow them to believe that majoring in eligibility is an acceptable academic goal.”

Matthew McCann, Ph.D.
Athletic Counselor


How Cap and Gown came to be:

During the summer of 2014, College of the Redwoods athletic counselor Matt McCann met with head football coach Taylor Breitzman, to develop solutions for increasing the retention of football players and improving both individual and team academic performance and success with a program of academic support. As a result, the College of the Redwoods Football team launched the Cap and Gown Program in the fall of 2014.

The results of the program were overwhelming. In Cap and Gown’s first year, the problem of losing football players due to academic ineligibility during the season was virtually eliminated. The overall GPA for the team improved by one half of a grade point. Additionally, about eighty percent of the student athletes who tested into the lowest levels of English and Math (non-credit), had tested into college credit level English and Math by the end of the semester.

Coach Breitzman commented, “We couldn’t continue to go down this path (of academic struggles) if we wanted to be successful in retaining student athletes from one year to the next. The X’s and O’s on the chalkboard don’t mean a thing if the players don’t do well in the classroom.”

McCann and Breitzman joined forces with Julia Peterson, the director of Community Education, to institute a program of supervised tutoring and basic skills training that players were required to attend Monday through Thursday for an hour and a half after practice each day. Because of the success of the Cap and Gown Program for football, other athletic teams at College of the Redwoods were eager to adapt the Cap and Gown model. As of the fall of 2015, all of the College of the Redwoods athletic teams, with the encouragement of the faculty and the full support of the athletic department and the school administration, will be incorporating Cap and Gown into their programs in order to promote student academic success for all athletes.



This is the official College of the Redwoods intercollegiate athletics web pages. Any other web site containing information about College of the Redwoods Athletics is not sanctioned by Redwoods and therefore may not contain accurate information.

  • Eureka Main Campus
  • 7351 Tompkins Hill Rd
  • Eureka, CA 95501
  • 707-476-4100