The Rogers State University athletic department has announced the addition of two more athletic programs for the 2007-2008 academic year. RSU Athletic Director Wren Baker said the Hillcats plan to compete in men’s and women’s soccer beginning next fall.
“I have been amazed at the tremendous interest in soccer in northeastern Oklahoma,” Baker said. “As we considered various athletic programs and the timeline for their implementation, it became clear that soccer was going to be a popular choice. We believe it will interest our students, faculty, fans and community members.”
With the addition of soccer, the Hillcats will now field six competitive squads in 2007-08. Baseball and softball enter their second seasons of NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) competition respectively this spring while men’s and women’s basketball will tip-off their inaugural seasons next fall.
RSU President Joe Wiley said the addition of soccer was a logical move forward for the already budding athletic program at RSU.
“The development of men’s and women’s soccer teams is a natural next step for the RSU athletic program, considering the enthusiasm among our students, the high level of interest expressed by area schools, coaches, and parents, and the facilities already available at the university,” Wiley said.
Baker and his staff will now be charged with starting four new programs next fall. The naming of a women’s basketball coach has been delayed and will now coincide with the search for a men’s and women’s soccer coach. The soccer program will play its home games at Soldier Field, located in the heart of RSU’s Claremore campus. The field was recently widened and resurfaced to meet soccer field specifications. Other improvements including the addition of a new scoreboard will be completed soon.
RSU gained acceptance into the Sooner Athletic Conference in September 2006 and is already scheduled to join league play in basketball, baseball and softball in 2007-08. The SAC is widely regarded as the premiere conference in the NAIA. The Hillcats became an NAIA member institution during 2005-06 academic year and currently compete in Region VI.