Building a collegiate sports program is a process that is very challenging, but can be very rewarding in the end. Success usually does not happen immediately, it can take teams years to become a winning program.
Emory & Henry College has recently started a new golf program, and other programs will start in the near future. Adding new programs has many challenges. Director of Athletics Myra Sims said “It is a challenge to start new programs because there is a pressure to do it in the best way to give it a chance to succeed.
At the same time, we have to balance limited resources available to us with trying to do things the best possible way.” Sims also remarked that “The most important aspect of building a new program is getting the right coach to lead it. I can’t stress enough how important the coach is to building the program the right way.”
Justin Harvey, the head coach of the men’s golf team, explains the experience of starting a new program “has been extremely challenging yet rewarding. If it wasn’t for my athletic director [Myra Sims] and support staff, it would not have been possible.”
Although building a successful team can be a long process, teams can eventually get the results they want. One model of building a program can be found at Kansas State University. Bill Snyder has been the head football coach at Kansas State since 1989, according to an article written by Bill Connelly on sbnation.com. Connelly notes Kansas State had a total of four winning seasons between 1940 and 1988 (before Snyder arrived.
Since Snyder took the job, the Wildcats have won two Big 12 championships, and has become one of the top football programs in the Big 12.
Snyder said one of the most important part of this process is that everyone has “to carry the system beyond the football field. You can get that tremendous player who fits your X’s and O’s, but he might not fit in the locker room or in the class room, and he might create some problems that aren’t worth him being in the program,” according to Connolly.
Sims says how “Building a new program or rebuilding one that has not been successful for a while is a process that can be frustrating at times. I think we sometimes feel that we have to take a couple of steps backward in order to take one step forward.”
Players in a first-year program are in a unique situation. Carlos Andrade, a first-year from Ecuador, is a member of the men’s teamand had a successful fall season individually. When asked about being a member of a first-year program, Andrade responded with
“We’re an interesting position here. We are building a legacy and building history. I’m glad to be part of this program. After the 1st semester, we didn’t have a great semester, but we are looking better. We have a great team this semester, plus the addition of 4 new [recruits], the team has been really good and can be even better in the near future.”
– Luke Montalbano