Columbus, GA - Columbus State President Dr. Tim Mescon and Athletic Director Jay Sparks have announced the addition of four programs to CSU's athletic program. Co-ed rifle, women's golf, and men's and women's track and field will start competing in the fall of 2009. This brings the total to 14 intercollegiate sports within the CSU department.
"The university is committed to growth and expansion of the student body not only in campus life, but in NCAA Division II," said President Mescon. "We want to expand our student population to 10,000 students by 2011 and with these sports as well as increased recreational opportunities for our students and a new state-of-the-art student recreation center, we feel like we can accomplish that goal."
The co-ed rifle team will be lead by CSU staff member Mike Greene and technical shooting expert Sergeant Mike Moore from Fort Benning. Mixed rifle is the only sport in the NCAA that allows both men and women to compete against one another on the same field. The team will be able to train and compete at what is quite possibly the finest shooting facility in the world, Fort Benning's Army Marksmanship Unit.
"We feel like this program can become competitive nationally very quickly," said Greene. "When shooters find out that they have a facility like the one at Fort Benning, it will be a huge drawing card for us and with a man like Sergeant Moore giving instruction, that just adds to the package."
Women's golf will be lead by current men's golf assistant coach and Sports Information Director Brian Padgett. Padgett, in his eighth season with the men's team, will have the opportunity to start a program from scratch.
"What an opportunity to start and build a program from the ground floor," said Padgett.
Current men's and women's cross country coach J.D. Evilsizer will add men's and women's track & field to his plate. This move makes sense because now the cross country student athletes will have the opportunity to run year round. Track & Field is a spring sport and some of the same members of the cross country team will also run distance events in Track & Field.
"This is a great opportunity for us at CSU and makes perfect sense," said Evilsizer. "We have been competing in spring events the last couple of years, but can now we can put together a team and actually have an opportunity to qualify for post-season events. We will be able to use some of our same athletes that run cross-country and also recruit athletes for other events."
The four sports comprise the largest single expansion of the CSU program in its history. Women's soccer was the last sport added to the repertoire in 2004 and has become one of the most successful programs in the country in a very short time. "We won't ever start a sport here without giving it the opportunity to be successful right away at both the conference and national levels. We will do this without an increase in funding and have great confidence in these coaches that they will get the job done," said Sparks.