The Indiana University East Faculty Senate during its Feb. 5 meeting approved a resolution to add a women’s basketball program.
Interim Chancellor Larry Richards said, “Intercollegiate athletics at IU East has become a major part of our recruiting strategy. Student-athletes graduating from high school have many options open to them. The opportunity to participate in intercollegiate athletics can make the difference on selecting a college to attend. Furthermore, we want our student-athletes to have a great experience while attending college, academically, athletically and in other learning activities in which they participate.”
The IU East athletic department plans to have the women’s basketball head coach in place by the end of the current school year, with the search process expected to start within days.
“It’s something we’ve been needing and wanting, and it’s something I welcome and look forward to,” said IU East Athletic Director Mark Hester. “I hope the program can gain a lot of community support and a strong fan base. We hope it will become one of our signature programs and add to the success our other sports have enjoyed in the NAIA.”
The new coach will focus on recruiting the Red Wolf roster during the 2013-14 school year. The team would begin NAIA competition during the 2014-15 school year.
“Women’s basketball adds a sport to the IU East intercollegiate athletics program that is one of the more popular in our region and one that will contribute significantly to our recruiting efforts. We want to be competitive immediately and to attract good crowds to the games when they start in 2014-15. Next year will be devoted to recruiting top student-athletes into the program,” Richards said.
The school estimates 15 student-athletes would participate in the women’s basketball program.
“It’s great IU East is adding another women’s sport. It will attract more enrollment and it’s another opportunity for women in the athletics program,” said IU East sophomore nursing student Kristin Smith, who played basketball at Centerville (Ind.) High School. “I’m really excited to watch the team when it comes – and maybe even participate! It’s just a great addition to an already growing campus.”
The addition of women’s basketball will bring the total number of NAIAvarsity sports offered at IU East to 11. The Red Wolves currently compete in men’s basketball, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s tennis, and men’s and women’s outdoor track and field. IU East offers more intercollegiate sports than any other regional campus in Indiana.