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Chip Smith, WCU Athletics Announces Department Restructuring

June 14, 2010

Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina Director of Athletics Chip Smith has unveiled plans for a departmental restructuring. Under Smith's plan, the department will be divided into three areas - Academics, External Operations and Internal Operations - which will be individually directed under his ultimate supervision.

As a part of the restructuring, two assistant athletic directors will be promoted to the associate level. Dr. Jennifer Brown, who serves as the University's Senior Woman Administrator (SWA) and heads its academic efforts in the athletic department, will become Associate Athletic Director and Mr. Brian Frerking, who heads the department's fundraising efforts, will take over as the Associate Athletic Director for External Operations.

Long time athletics department administrator, Mr. Fred Cantler, will retain his Senior Associate Athletics Director title and will oversee the Internal Operations of WCU Athletics.

"We are fortunate to have an outstanding staff in the athletic department. Like any business, we are always looking for ways to be more efficient and effective," said Smith on the restructuring. "Fred Cantler has been a foundation of WCU Athletics for many years. Jennifer (Brown) and Brian (Frerking) bring expertise in their fields that will make this change successful. Their restructured responsibilities will allow us to be more focused on the essentials of college athletics, which are student-athlete welfare, academic success and revenue generation."

WCU's plan cites similar models amongst college and university athletic departments around the nation, but differs from many models by making academics a stand-alone area rather than being incorporated into one of other two parts. Making it a third component in the department continues to highlight WCU's emphasis on academics.

Another difference is the inclusion of WCU Athletics Media Relations into the External Operations efforts to meld the marketing, ticketing and fundraising efforts all under one umbrella. One of the main advantages for the departmental restructuring is the ability to more closely incorporate efforts of public communication and interaction.

Cantler, who just completed his 32nd year as a member of WCU Athletics, will continue his role of managing the department's internal affairs, as well as overseeing the institution's NCAA compliance and eligibility - a duty he has held since taking the position in 1996. A 1978 graduate of Western Kentucky University, Cantler came to Western Carolina in August of that same year as the department's athletic trainer - a position in which he held for 18 years prior to moving into athletic administration.

Brown came to Western Carolina in August of 2001 to head the department's Academic Support Services. She was appointed to the SWA position on July 1, 2005. A 1992 graduate of North Carolina State University who received her Masters of Arts in counselor education in 1996 from North Carolina Central University, Brown has received numerous awards for her work in academic advising while also overseeing WCU's Academic Enhancement Plan (AEP), CHAMPS Life Skills programs and Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC). Brown was awarded her Doctoral degree from N.C. State in the spring of 2004.

Frerking, who started at WCU in June of 2008, came to Cullowhee as the Assistant Athletics Director for Development. He has directed all fundraising efforts of WCU Athletics, including the Catamount Club - a role he will continue to serve as the Associate Athletics Director for External Operations. Prior to coming to WCU, Frerking was the Associate Vice President for Major Gifts with the Texas A&M 12th Man Foundation.

A 1998 graduate of Texas A&M University where he was a two-time, GTE Student-Athlete Academic Award recipient, Frerking received his Masters of Sports Administration from North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2002 where he also served as the Associate Director for Annual Giving with the Rams Club.