Averett University Announces Addition of Three Athletics Programs

Averett University has exciting developments on the horizon, with the introduction of three new NCAA Division III varsity athletics programs. The university plans to add men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, and men’s wrestling to its sports roster for the 2017-18 academic year, using the generous support of an anonymous donor.

These additions mark the university’s 14th, 15th, and 16th varsity programs, part of its “Averett 2020” strategic plan that aims to increase enrollment and diversify its student population geographically. The university anticipates these programs will attract around 90 new students within the next four years, contributing to Averett’s goal of hosting 1,100 traditional students.

Dr. Tiffany M. Franks, President of Averett University, expressed enthusiasm about the university’s growth and enhanced student experience. She emphasized that the new programs will add to the university’s athletic and academic excellence, while also broadening the scope of prospective students from regions beyond Averett’s traditional zones.

To kick off each sport’s implementation, Averett is commencing a nationwide search for head coaches and formulating recruitment strategies for student-athletes. A portion of the $500,000 gift will support the launch of these three programs. Notably, this announcement represents the first expansion of varsity sports at Averett since the introduction of women’s lacrosse in the 2002-2003 academic year.

Lacrosse and wrestling were strategically chosen due to their increasing popularity across the nation. A significant number of NCAA schools are introducing lacrosse programs in the coming years, with a considerable portion in Division III. Similarly, Division III is witnessing a growth in men’s wrestling programs, with several schools adding or transitioning to this sport.

Meg Stevens, Director of Athletics at Averett, underlined the significance of the expansion in line with the university’s strategic growth. Stevens highlighted the meticulous planning and research that led to the selection of lacrosse and wrestling, both of which align well with the university’s profile.

The return of women’s lacrosse and the addition of men’s lacrosse correspond with Averett’s new facilities. The construction of the $5.5 million Frank R. Campbell Stadium, scheduled for completion in the upcoming summer, will accommodate the university’s lacrosse, football, and soccer programs. Additionally, the wrestling program will utilize the E. Stuart James Grant Center, recognized as one of the top Division III gyms in the southeast.

Averett University is on an exciting trajectory with the addition of these sports programs, creating opportunities for student-athletes and contributing to the university’s strategic objectives.

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