MOBILE, Ala. – Spring Hill College athletics director Jim Hall has announced that the college will offer men's and women's outdoor track & field as its 14th and 15th varsity sports beginning in spring 2013.
"There are a number of exciting innovations taking place at Spring Hill College and the Department of Athletics sees this as an ideal time to expand our sport offerings," said Hall. "We looked at the opportunities available and track & field stood out due to the tremendous potential for growth and the high number of high school athletes who would love the opportunity to continue competing in their sport while getting the outstanding education that Spring Hill offers."
The Badgers will join 163 NAIA track & field programs that currently compete across the country and recruiting of student-athletes will begin immediately.
"One of the great advantages that track & field competition offers is that our students will have the opportunity to advance to NAIA national championship competitions not just as teams, but as individuals," says Hall. "Our athletes will have the opportunity to compete against not only NAIA programs, but in high quality meets that include colleges and universities from NCAA Division I conferences including the SEC, CUSA and Sun Belt."
While Spring Hill College does not currently have an on-campus track & field complex, the programs will initially use the collegiate quality facility located on the adjacent campus of St. Paul's Episcopal School. An on-campus facility will be considered in future on-campus building projects.
"This is an exciting opportunity for Spring Hill to become the Gulf Coast's leader in small college track & field," says Hall. "Track & field additionally benefits the traditionally strong SHC cross country programs by providing an opportunity for those student-athletes to compete and train year-round."
Coach Joe H. Williams, who has guided the SHC men's and women's cross country teams for the past three years, will spearhead the recruiting and scheduling of the new Badger program. A national search for the full-time head coach will begin this summer.
Williams said, "Through this new athletic offering, Spring Hill will continue to foster commitment and sportsmanship with our student athletes. We are all excited to be able to build Badger track & field into a successful athletic program."
With the addition of the two track programs, Spring Hill now sponsors varsity teams in 15 sports that include men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's tennis, baseball, softball and women's volleyball. In future seasons, the Badgers will also look to develop men's and women's indoor track & field teams.