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Lack of Funding Leads Chess Coach and Team to Leave Texas Tech

Muhannad Fala'ah, Getty Images

You see coaches come and go from college sports all the time. But usually, you don’t see the team get up and leave with the coach. Well, that’s exactly what’s going on right here at Texas Tech.

Susan Polger, head coach of Texas Tech’s chess team the Knight Raiders, is leaving the university and moving to Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. 10 of the team’s best players, 8 grandmasters and 2 international masters, are also leaving Tech and moving to Webster. The Knight Raiders are currently ranked as the #1 chess team in the nation, and have made it to the Final Four Championships three years in a row. But as successful as the team has been, Polger said that a lack of funding from Tech prompted the move to Missouri.

“We kind of became the victims of our own success. The program grew so fast that the university had difficulty accommodating the fast growth of the program,”

Polger said that the students who are leaving with her came specifically for the chess program, which was named after Polger. I think it’s a testament to the kind of coach Polger must be, and Webster is lucky to have her and her players. I also think it’s a shame that Tech is losing out on such a successful program just because the funds aren’t there.


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