GGC to begin intercollegiate Grizzly athletics in 2012

Georgia Gwinnett College President Daniel J. Kaufman announced today that the college plans to begin intercollegiate athletics with six sports for the 2012-2013 academic year. An additional three sports may be introduced the following year.

Georgia Gwinnett College President Daniel J. Kaufman announced today that the college plans to begin intercollegiate athletics with six sports for the 2012-2013 academic year. An additional three sports may be introduced the following year.

“We are pleased to offer intercollegiate athletics to our students, as it represents another milestone in our brief history. Varsity sports will enhance the college’s vision of a fully integrated educational experience,” said Kaufman. “Students who are engaged in college stay in college, and this new level of athletics will provide even more incentive for students to get involved, stay in school and graduate.”

The intercollegiate athletics program will add yet another dimension to student life at the rapidly-growing institution, providing opportunities for personal growth and wellness through physical competition and activity. GGC is committed to a philosophy of total personal development. A complete athletics program including these new varsity sports, along with club sports and intramurals, offers all students an opportunity to develop skills in teamwork, leadership and other key areas.

The following nine sports were selected based on student interest, gender equity, facility requirements and potential community interest:

2012-2013 – Men’s baseball, men’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s soccer, women’s softball and women’s tennis

2013-2014 – Men’s basketball, women’s basketball and women’s volleyball

Kaufman appointed an intercollegiate athletics task force in 2010 to explore the feasibility of initiating a varsity sports program. The task force explored financial and other resource considerations and made program recommendations. The task force will continue guiding the athletic program development process until a director of athletics is hired.

GGC students approved an athletics fee to be used to fund the programs, a fee that was also approved by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents at this month’s meeting. Additional funding will be provided through private support.

The director of athletics will be hired this year and will quickly begin the process of hiring coaches and staff. The task force has developed an initial plan upon which the program can be built so the Grizzlies can be ready to field competitive teams during the 2012-2013 academic year.
Construction of athletics facilities, also based on an already approved fee, could begin as soon as this summer. GGC intends to apply for membership in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

“I am delighted that we are creating a unique, integrated athletics program at GGC,” said Tomas Jimenez, dean of students and chair of the task force. “It will enrich the educational experience, build excitement and enhance our campus spirit.”

“Our athletics program will add engagement opportunities for our campus community, as well as the community at large,” said Kaufman. “I can think of no better place to build an intercollegiate athletics program than in Gwinnett. This region has the resources, the interest and the enthusiasm to support and champion a collegiate program. We look forward to many years of hearing our students, friends and neighbors cheer, ‘go Grizzlies!’”

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