As we have reached the end of both another academic and athletic year, I thought I would empty the mail bag for another addition of “Ask the AD”:
Q: Bob asks if the indoor practice facility will be able to host the Southern Conference indoor track & field competition?
A: Bob, as the indoor practice facility – or IPF – is still in infancy stages, we have not begun to program the facility. Short answer to your question, I don’t know.
Q: Zach asks if there are any plans to add a men's lacrosse team in the near future?
A: Zach this is easy: no. If and when we add sports, they will most certainly be on the women’s side. But before we add anything, we must first ensure our current teams have the resources to be competitive on an annual basis, and we aren’t there yet. In an effort for us to get to the point to ensure our current teams have the resources they need to be successful, we need all of Catamount Nation to consider being involved in these ways: join the Catamount Club, attend WCU athletic events in Cullowhee, and encourage your friends and other alumni to do the same.
Q: Similarly, Ian asks if Western Carolina has any plans for women’s lacrosse?
A: Ian, that will depend on when we get current teams the resources to be competitive on an annual basis, and I do not see that in the near future. Please see my answer to the previous question as to how we can get you and other move involved to get us to that point.
Q: Marvin wants to know if the Southern Conference can set up games with rival conferences, such as the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), Ohio Valley, IVY League?
A: Marvin, the SoCon continues to try to establish such games, but understand it is not one conference dealing with another. To set up these types of games, each member institution or each conference must buy-in; therefore, in reality we have 30, 40, or 50 schools trying to negotiate home-and-home deals. We did accomplish something similar in women’s basketball, but to date, have had little-to-no success in other sports.
Q: Richard wants to know about potential FBS opponents from 2020-23 yet?
A: Richard, we are talking to a number of schools, but we have not yet finalized anything from 2020-2023.
Q: Stephen wants to know if we have ever considered dropping from Division I to Division II?
A: Stephen, I am aware there were some discussions during the administration of the previous Chancellor and Athletic Director, but it has never been discussed during my tenure at WCU. As we did not fully have revenue generation plans in place until 2011, I am not anywhere close to suggesting we look to move to D-II.
Q: Bob wants to know why head coach Larry Hunter’s contract was extended two years after this past season?
A: Bob, it wasn’t. Coach Hunter and I negotiated an extension of his contract during the 2013-2014 season, and signed a three-year extension, with the chance to earn two option years, in the summer of 2014 (immediately after he had reached the Southern Conference Tournament Championship game for the second time in three years). In order to earn the two option years, Coach Hunter had to reach preestablished goals in revenue generation, team academic outcomes, and Southern Conference competitive outcomes in each of the first two seasons of the contract. Coach Hunter reached all three objectives in both the 2014-2015 season and again in the 2015-2016 year, earning both option years.
Q: James asks about our Strategic Plan and where he can find it.
A: James, great timing! We are currently finalizing a review of our Strategic Plan, and should have it available on our website sometime in June. The Athletic Department Strategic Plan is reviewed and approved by the Chancellor, and we hope to finish up our year-long reassessment process in the next few weeks.
As we end another academic year, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our graduating student-athletes for representing our department, University, and alumni so well during their stay in Cullowhee. It is always fun to watch these young people walk across the stage to receive their diplomas, and reminds all of us why we are here. And as always, a heartfelt “Thank You” to all of you that support the Catamount Club. Without your involvement, many of these student-athletes would never have the chance to walk across a stage and receive a college degree!
Till next time, Go Cats!
To read previous Q&A's from "Ask the AD" Click HERE.