Augusta State announced this afternoon the school will add men’s and women’s outdoor track and field to its athletic program, bumping its sports offerings to 13 varsity sports.
Men’s and women’s outdoor track and field will begin this upcoming academic year. The season runs in the spring, and the NCAA Division II championship will be held in late May.
“We’re looking forward to it,” said Adam Ward, the Jaguars’ cross country coach who will also assume track and field coaching responsibilities. “It’s going to be a good challenge.”
The Peach Belt Conference has added Alabama-Huntsville and Harding for track and field only. The league had five schools for men’s track and needed one more to have a championship in 2013; the Peach Belt already had six women’s track teams. Augusta State decided to accelerate their plan to add track and field, bumping its timetable up a year.
“It’s going to be real exciting,” Ward said, adding his cross country team has been competing in spring track and field meets since 2005.
Ward is now working on recruiting. For the 2012-13 season, the school will offer no scholarships. Ward said he’s proposed a scholarship budget for the 2013-14 season – the first year with the new consolidated university, which merges Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences University.
Right now, the plan is to have about 15-20 athletes on each of the men’s and women’s rosters. His cross country runners will likely participate on the track team. Ward will need to add another handful of runners and throwers to complete his rosters.
“We need a lot more women than men,” he said.