GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNC Greensboro Interim Director of Athletics Rod Wyatt announced Friday that men's and women's indoor track and field have formally been established as the 17th and 18th sports the university sponsors beginning with the 2009-10 academic year.
The cross country and track programs have been in existence since the 1991-92 season. Wyatt was actually the first head coach of the program. Because of scheduling requirements set by the NCAA, the indoor and outdoor track and field programs have never been held as two separate seasons by the university. Under those requirements, institutions are required to have a certain number of meets and a certain number of participants in those meets before being allowed to establish separate indoor and outdoor track and field programs.
Up until now, the program competed in an indoor schedule, which included the Southern Conference's indoor championship, but was not eligible for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. UNCG has competed in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships with Charles Jones earning a spot in the 2005 national championship in the triple jump and East Regional in 2006. Jeff Williams also competed in the East Regional meet in the 800 meters in 2006.
"The addition of indoor track is a big step forward for the UNCG track program," said Linh Nguyen (pronounced Ling Win), who serves as the head coach for cross country, and now both indoor and outdoor track and field. "Any program with high goals such as ours needs the ability to run a complete schedule from cross country through indoor and outdoor track. This is going to allow our student-athletes to compete at a higher level throughout the entire school year and should help our program reach new heights. Establishing it as its own program should also help with recruiting as it shows prospective student-athletes that UNCG has a commitment to the running program and its enhancement. I'm very excited about this development and look forward to continuing the development of the program."
"This is another important step in the progression of this program," said Wyatt. "There are a number of benefits to having them be two officially separate seasons, including NCAA funding for the department and raising the overall profile of the track and field program. Our mission has always been about providing opportunities and the welfare of our student-athletes. This step furthers that mission."
With UNCG's total of 18 sports in the 2009-10 season, it will be the largest number for sport sponsorship the athletic department has ever had.
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