CSU Adds Four New Athletic Programs for 2009-2010

Columbus, Ga. -- Four new sports will be introduced at Columbus State University next fall, bringing to 14 the number of intercollegiate programs offered by CSU.

Columbus State University President Tim Mescon and Athletic Director Jay Sparks announced at a recent news conference the addition of co-ed rifle, women's golf and men's and women's track and field.

'The university is committed to growth and expansion of the student body, not only in campus life but in NCAA Division II,' Mescon said. 'We want to expand our student population to 10,000 students by 2011, and with these sports as well as increased recreational opportunities for our students and a new state-of-the-art student recreation center, we feel like we can accomplish that goal.'

CSU staffer Mike Greene will lead the co-ed rifle team, working with technical shooting expert Sgt. Mike Moore of Fort Benning. Mixed rifle is the only NCAA sport that allows both men and women to compete against each other. The team will be able to train and compete at ranges designed for Fort Benning's Army Marksmanship Unit.

'We feel like this program can become competitive nationally very quickly,' Greene said. 'When shooters find out that they have a facility like the one at Fort Benning, it will be a huge drawing card for us, and with a man like Sergeant Moore giving instruction, that just adds to the package.'

Sports Information Director Brian Padgett, now in his eighth season as assistant coach of CSU's men's golf team, will start the women's program from scratch.

'What an opportunity, to start and build a program from the ground floor,' he said.

Current men's and women's cross country coach J.D. Evilsizer will add men's and women's track and field to his plate. This move makes sense because it allows cross country student athletes the opportunity to run year round. Track and field is a spring sport, and some of the same members of the cross country team will also run track and field distance events.

'This is a great opportunity for us at CSU and makes perfect sense,' said Evilsizer. 'We have been competing in spring events the last couple of years, but now we can put together a team and actually have an opportunity to qualify for post-season events.'

The four sports comprise the largest expansion of the CSU program in its history. Women's soccer was the last sport added, in 2004, and has become one of the nation's most successful programs.

'We won't ever start a sport here without giving it the opportunity to be successful right away at both the conference and national levels. We will do this without an increase in funding and have great confidence in these coaches that they will get the job done,' said Sparks