In case you haven’t heard, Brody has been gearing up for two new sports coming to campus: cross-country and golf. The seasons will kick off in fall 2013.
These new programs will expand the University’s recruitment of potential students. “Part of our draw to [these] sports was the ability to attract new students and new families looking at the University for these opportunities,” athletic director Neal Ring said. “If we can find students that fit and want a good liberal arts education in our environment, we can now offer them a chance to come and compete in cross-country and golf.”
According to Coach Ring, BJU already has the resources for these new programs. The cross-country team will use the existing grounds, and the University can partner with a local golf course to facilitate team needs. “It will have minimal up-front costs, and operational costs are relatively low,” Coach Ring said. “There are no facility needs or infrastructure changes that need to take place.”
The new sports programs will begin in the 2013 fall semester. Six track meets are scheduled for the fall semester, and a full golf schedule is planned for both fall and spring semesters. Both the men’s and women’s teams will be eligible to compete in the national cross-country meet at Cedarville University as well as the national golf championship.
Assistant athletic director Wyatt Parker was instrumental in the process of researching and adding these sports programs. Parker attended the NCCAA national golf tournament last spring and has been actively scheduling and networking with universities in the southeast region, including Toccoa Falls, Emmanuel University and other schools already familiar with the University’s programs.
Student excitement for the new sports has been high. “I was pumped,” said Joe Ellison, a junior orchestral instrument performance major and regular golfer. “I had been talking about it for a while with a bunch of guys who play golf, and we were thinking about how cool it would be if we put together a golf team.” Ellison, who frequents the Pebble Creek and Furman golf courses, said that given the time, he would love to give collegiate golf a chance.
Cross-country has garnered plenty of interest as well. At least one high school senior has already committed to attend BJU and run for the cross-country team. Mark Bonikowsky, a junior communication major and midfielder for the men’s soccer team, is considering a switch to cross-country next season.
“Initially I was surprised,” Bonikowsky said. “It wasn’t a sport I thought they would add. I was excited though. I’ve always loved running, and although I’m not totally sure [about switching sports programs], I’ve been training a lot.”
Coaches for both sports have not yet been chosen, but Coach Ring has high expectations for the staff. “We have a phenomenal list of high-end coaches at the collegiate level who are interested in coming. We are very excited about the quality of the applicants.”