Warren Wilson to add 4 new sports
Warren Wilson will soon add four new athletic programs to its roster.
For the fall 2023 semester, women’s rugby and men’s volleyball will be added, with men’s and women’s track and field to follow in spring 2025.
The school announced in June it would be starting a women’s volleyball program in fall 2023. Owen head coach Kristy Kamer is set to lead the program in its inaugural season.
The new additions means the college will be offering more than a dozen sports to student-athletes.
Though coaches have not yet been selected, Director of Athletics Robin Davis said job postings will start going out next week, with all coaching positions being posted within the next month.
Bill Christy, Warren Wilson’s interim president, said in a news release that he supported the addition of these new programs.
“We’re very excited to announce the addition of women’s rugby, men’s volleyball and men’s and women’s track and field to Warren Wilson’s varsity offerings,” Christy said in the news release. “After thorough review of the detailed projections, we agreed that these new athletic offerings will serve to increase vibrancy and opportunity for advancement to our campus community as well as continuing our efforts to increase enrollment.”
Davis said the new sports were chosen because of interest on campus.
“(We) thought they were good fits for Warren Wilson’s campus and community,” Davis said. “We’re trying to continue to work through the NCAA membership process as well as increase our enrollment and retention and so it just felt that they kind of helped along those tracks for those efforts both in the athletic department and campus-wide.”
Davis said Warren Wilson is looking to be a full-fledged NCAA Division III member. According to the news release, the school began the membership process in 2020 and began competing in the 2020-21 academic year.
The news release said the athletic department was recently accepted into the Coast-to-Coast Athletic Conference and will be a full NCAA Division III member in time for the 2024-25 school year.
Davis said representatives from the conference visited the college, and the school felt the Coast-to-Coast conference was the best fit for Warren Wilson as it allows for more flexibility with conference scheduling.
“The normal conference schedule isn’t probably the best fit for us,” Davis said. “This kind of gives us the flexibility of having a conference home and then that flexibility to create our schedules, to work around what’s best for our student-athletes and faculty and staff.”
Davis said because the college is “really heavy” on academics, this flexibility means student-athletes will not be pulled out of classes as often for longer trips.
She said she is excited to add new sports to Warren Wilson’s offerings, especially as she has seen athletic programs get cut across the country.
“I think it shows that we’re really valuing athletics, which is exciting and just working with the administration that really understands that we can be a good enrollment driver for the college,” Davis said. “It’s exciting any time you can add more athletics and you get a more diverse student-athlete population.”
Davis said adding these programs will aid in growing Warren Wilson.
“Growth in general is exciting to be moving in that direction where we have the ability to add and make an impact on our school and enrollment is always exciting,” Davis said. “They are unique sports. They’re not … offered at every college, so it’s a cool, unique opportunity to bring some unique athletes.”