Mar 5, 2014 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorSoccer teams could be created within two years, college leaders say.
Central Wyoming College administrative officials have preliminarily endorsed the proposed expansion of the collegiate sports program to include women's and men's cross country and women's and men's golf teams.
The CWC Board of Trustees will consider the expansion formally March 12.
If approved, the teams will begin play this fall.
Both golf and cross country at National Junior College Athletic Association sports.
CWC already has women's and men's basketball, women's and men's rodeo and women's volleyball at the campus.
"We believe that adding collegiate sports will strengthen our existing athletic department and enhance academic achievement of our student athletes in the classroom, increase enrollment and occupation of our residences halls, and augment the student life program on campus," Central Wyoming College executive vice president for student and academic services Dr. Jason Wood said. "We are also actively engaging with a restructured booster club to dramatically increase the presence of our student athletes in the community and subsequent financial support for student athletes at CWC."
The CWC women's and men's basketball teams lost this week in the opening rounds of their respective Region IX tournaments.
"As exciting as new athletic programs are, we will also bring forward a proposal through the budget to invest in our existing athletic programs," Wood said. "Currently, our investment in scholarships for student athletics is significantly lower than the funding received by teams we compete against."
"The decision was made by what is best for the college and the community and our students here," CWC assistant dean for student services/athletic director Steve Barlow said. "We looked at everything. For this moment, it was easy for us to come up with those two sports right now."
Wood said the school will plan to hire head coaches and assistant coaches from the community or college staff using stipends rather than creating new, full-time, benefitted positions.
"This approach will allow us to utilize local coaching talents among existing college employees and possibly create partnerships with area high school programs," Wood said.
CWC student leadership has voted to approve the addition of the new athletic teams with financial support. The students supported an additional $1 fee on every credit.
The fee provides the majority of the annual operating costs for both golf and cross country.
Officials said CWC picked golf and cross country because of the success the two sports have had at the high school level in Fremont County.
The Riverton High School boys golf team won the Class 4-A state title in September in Rock Springs under the direction of coach Lars Flanagan.
The Lander Tigers took the Class 3-A boys title. Terry Berg is the veteran coach in Lander.
In cross country, Wyoming Indian coach Chico Her Many Horses guided his team to eight straight Class 2-A state boys titles, and the WIHS girls are perennial contenders as well. Lander Valley High school also has a good cross country tradition.
"There is a lot of excitement about cross country," Barlow said. "We have good athletes here in Fremont County. The community should be excited that they can come see local runners. We want to give them every opportunity to do that right here at home."
Both sports offer fall and spring competition.
"That will help with retention as well as maximize the use of college vehicles," Wood said.
CWC officials aren't necessarily finished adding sports.
"If our student athletes continue their strong performances in the classroom and continue to strengthen the relationships with our community, strong consideration should be given to adding men's and women's soccer as early as 2016," Wood said.
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