William Peace University to Add Men’s and Women’s Track & Field
William Peace University is proud to announce the addition of a men’s and women’s track & field program. The University is conducting a national search for a head coach and staff, and has established partnership agreements with Raleigh Parks & Recreation, which will house practice and competition spaces for both the men’s and women’s teams.
“I am confident that Track & Field is a perfect complement to the rest of our Pacer Athletics programs and will attract more outstanding students to the University.”
Brian C. Ralph, Ph.D., WPU President
WPU Track & Field teams will compete against USA South Conference members as well as other regional DIII NCAA members. Currently, nine universities sponsor track and field teams within the USA South, and growth is anticipated for the sport in 2018-19.
“I am confident that Track & Field is a perfect complement to the rest of our Pacer Athletics programs and will attract more outstanding students to the University,” said Brian C. Ralph, Ph.D., President of William Peace University. “We have been laser focused on expanding opportunities for students here not only through the addition of new sports, but through academic expansion as well – we have added 10 new majors in just the last 15 months.”
According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, nearly 10,500 young women competed in track & field across North Carolina in 2016-17, while nearly 15,000 young men competed. Nationally, more than one million total student-athletes participate in the sport at more than 33,000 high schools and secondary schools. The sport is also highly diverse in its makeup of student-athletes, according to NCAA data.
“The addition of track & field will bring a diverse and dedicated group of students to WPU who will be eager to engage in our campus community,” said Frank Rizzo, Vice President for Student Life. “We’re very excited about this opportunity to expand our athletics programs, host great competition, enhance the student life experience, and continue attracting high-achieving, student-athletes to Peace.”
“When reviewing track & field, we found that the sport had a tremendous following in North Carolina, as well as across the country, coupled with a strong potential for institutional growth,” said Phil Rowe, Executive Director of Athletics Strategy & Special Projects. “I believe this addition to our athletics roster will offer intercollegiate opportunities for not only prospective student-athletes, but our current student body. Our recruiting will focus heavily on North Carolina and its rich high school and club programs, as well as those across the country. We’re extremely excited to bring track & field to #PacerNation.”
WPU Men’s & Women’s Track & Field will become the 17th and 18th intercollegiate sports at the University, respectively. Since transitioning to a coeducational university in 2012, WPU has added 12 intercollegiate sports programs.
Why add Track and Field?
Our student-athletes are very strong students in the classroom, leaders on campus, and contributors to the WPU community. We are eager to welcome new students who will make a difference in the life of the University.
Nationally, outdoor track & field is the No.1 participation sport for high school girls and the No. 2 participation sport for high school boys, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. In 2016-17 alone, the sport had 494,477 high school girl participants from 16,658 secondary schools, and 600,136 high school boy participants from 16,699 schools.
In 2016-17, North Carolina saw 10,476 high school girls compete in the sport, while 14,830 high school boys competed.
One of our four pillars of the strategic plan, Believe in Peace is strategic growth – and the addition of WPU Track & Field will be a great catalyst for expanding the student body.
Who is going to coach the teams?
The University is currently conducting a national search for a head coach and staff, who will soon begin recruiting student-athletes for competition. The WPU Track & Field Head Coach will be responsible for coaching both the women’s and men’s teams. For more information, please visit www.peace.edu/careers.
Where will the teams compete?
The University has established partnership agreements with Raleigh Parks & Recreation, which will house practice and competition spaces for both the women’s and men’s teams. Details on this partnership will be released at a later date.
Who will the teams compete against?
WPU Track & Field teams will compete against USA South Conference members as well as other regional DIII NCAA members. Currently, nine universities sponsor track and field teams within the USA South, and growth is anticipated for the sport in 2018-19. To view USA South track & field programs, please visit www.usasouth.net.
When will the teams start competition?
Competition could start as early as spring 2019; however, a full roster is expected by fall 2019. Once a head coach is hired, recruiting will begin immediately for both the men’s and women’s teams.
National Collegiate Athletic Association. (2017, September 13). NCAA Sport Sponsorship, Participation and Demographics Search. Retrieved from National Collegiate Athletic Association website.
The National Federation of State High School Associations. (2017, September 13). 2016-17 High School Athletics Participation Survey. Retrieved from The National Federation of State High School Associations website.