AUGUSTA, Ga. – Augusta State University’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics will begin sponsorship of outdoor track and field, according to an announcement Wednesday from ASU Director of Athletics Clint Bryant.
Bryant indicated the Jaguars will sponsor outdoor women’s and men’s track & field beginning with the fall, 2012 semester. With the addition of women’s and men’s track & field, ASU will sponsor 13 varsity sports -- volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s basketball, softball, baseball, men’s and women’s tennis along with men’s and women’s golf.
“We’re excited to be in a position to increase our sports sponsorship and to create new opportunities for potential student-athletes, and more importantly, attract new students to ASU,” Bryant said. “This will put us in line with the initiatives underway within the Peach Belt Conference and it’s another championship we’ll be able to compete for right away. This is just the beginning of things to come for Athletics.”
Current ASU Cross Country Head Coach Adam Ward will serve as head coach of the Jaguar men’s and women’s track programs. In his first eight seasons, Ward has earned Peach Belt Conference Coach of the Year honors five times. He led the men’s squad to the 2011 PBC title in just the second year of the program since it was reinstated following a 10-year hiatus.
Ward has guided the Lady Jaguar runners to five consecutive NCAA Regional appearances and the men’s squad to back-to-back regional trips in 2010 and 2011.
Outdoor track & field is classified as a spring sport by the NCAA and conducts its championship in late May.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for our program, the Athletics department and the University,” Ward said. “The addition of track & field creates several new opportunities for promoting our university to more students and fans. I appreciate Coach Bryant's vision for increasing sport sponsorship at ASU.
“It only makes sense for us to sponsor outdoor track and field (and eventually indoor track). Our cross country student-athletes have already been competing (unofficially) in spring meets for the past seven years. Now we create more opportunities to advance to the national championships for not only those student-athletes, but also those who can run, jump and throw in track & field’s various event disciplines."