UC Announces Exploration of Athletic Programs at UC-Beckley - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

UC Announces Exploration of Athletic Programs at UC-Beckley

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BECKLEY -

University of Charleston Regional President Jerry Forster today announced the exploration of fielding junior varsity sports teams at UC-Beckley in three sports to begin competition this fall. Those sports are basketball, soccer and volleyball.

"We are very pleased to field sports in Beckley beginning this fall," said Dr. Forster. "As a former UC basketball player, I understand that intercollegiate athletics is a vital piece of campus life. The recruitment of student-athletes to UC-Beckley is very important to building a strong academic institution."

Men's and women's teams will be explored in both basketball and soccer, while only a women's team will be examined for volleyball. The coaching search and recruitment of coaches and student-athletes will begin immediately.

UC officials recently received notification from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) that UC-Beckley teams wouldn't be permitted to compete at that level. Exploring NCAA competition was the next logical decision since UC-Charleston already fields 15 Division II teams, including men's and women's basketball, men's and women's soccer and volleyball.

"We understand that there is no easy or immediate way to replace the past success of the Mountain State athletics, especially the men's basketball team," said Dr. Forster. "They were a powerhouse in the NAIA and a point of pride for everyone in the Beckley area. The sports we are announcing today are hopefully just one part of something really special we feel like we are building in Beckley."

UC-Beckley will study the possibility of adding more junior varsity programs, as well as varsity teams, in the coming years.

UC-Beckley opened its doors on January 1, 2013, and currently offers 12 academic programs, ranging from associate to master's degrees. The 2012-13 academic year marks UC's 125th anniversary as an academic institution. UC was founded in 1888 as Barboursville Seminary, renamed Morris Harvey College in 1901, moved to Charleston in 1935 and was renamed the University of Charleston in 1978.