Service Awards Presented at WBU

Williams Baptist University has honored several of its own for their service to the university. Williams recently recognized a dozen employees who have reached milestones of service at WBU.

“The combined years of service for these WBU employees comes to nearly 250 years. That is a remarkable testament to the loyalty of our people, who invest their lives into Williams Baptist University and its students,” said Dr. Stan Norman, president of WBU.

Pictured above are (seated, left to right): Lynette Rose, Tonya Bolton, Misty Colvey, Melinda Williams and Kathy Evans. Standing: Aaron Andrews, Eliseu dos Santos, Vickie Travis, Katherine Tippy, Lisa Foley, Dr. Brett Cooper and Dr. Chris Thompson.

Lynette Rose of WBU’s Office of Business Affairs was recognized for 40 years of service to the university, while Melinda Williams, assistant professor of speech, drama & journalism, was honored for 35 years at WBU.

Honored for 30 years of service were Kathy Evans and Lisa Foley. Evans is education coordinator for the Williams Teacher Education Program, and Foley is the transfer counselor in the Office of Admissions.

Dr. Brett Cooper, vice president for institutional advancement, was recognized for 25 years of service.

Tonya Bolton and Dr. Chris Thompson were honored for 20 years at WBU. Bolton serves as the registrar, and Thompson is associate professor of music.

Recognized for 15 years of service was Aaron Andrews. Andrews is director of annual giving and alumni relations.

Misty Colvey and Eliseu dos Santos were honored for 10 years of service. Colvey is the head athletic trainer, while dos Santos serves as the facilities maintenance supervisor.

And Katherine Tippy and Vickie Travis were recognized for five years at the university. Tippy is administrative assistant in the Office of Financial Aid, while Travis serves as a housekeeper.

The employees were honored at WBU’s employee Christmas party on Dec. 13.

Anonymous Donors Gift $10,000 to JLC

The University of the Ozarks’ Jones Learning Center has received a $10,000 gift from the parents of a former JLC student for providing a “life-altering experience” for their son.

The parents, who wished to remain anonymous, said the JLC made a tremendous impact on their son and helped him graduate from U of O with honors.

“This gift is being given to support the mission of the Jones Learning Center by grateful parents of a child who entered the University of the Ozarks as a shy, immature, frightened kid who had some learning difficulties and was very unsure of himself,” the parents said. “As a result of the faculty and staff of both the Jones Learning Center and the University of the Ozarks family, as well as the incredibly hard work of our son, he graduated Cum Laude and as a mature, confident and prepared young man. We thank the entire University of the Ozarks family for providing a life-altering experience for our son.”

Jones Learning Center at University of the Ozarks

The gift will be a part of the Debbie Williams Memorial Endowment Scholarship that was established last year for scholarships to JLC students. It was created by family, colleagues, friends and former students of Williams to memorialize the long-time JLC coordinator who died in 2017.

“We are thankful for the generosity of donors like these who have seen first-hand the great work that our faculty members and JLC staff do to transform lives,” said Lori McBee, vice president for advancement. “Their gift helps ensure that future JLC students will have the same type of high-quality support and education that their son received.”

The Jones Learning Center is a comprehensive support program on the Ozarks campus.  Bright students with learning disabilities, AD/HD, and autism are completely mainstreamed into the university while receiving support in a program with a 1:5 staff-to-student ratio.  Daily scheduled meetings with JLC staff help the students to stay organized and to complete assignments.  In addition to the support they receive at the center, the average class size at U of O is about 17 students, allowing each to receive individual attention from professors in class.

WBU Unveils “Renewing Minds, Transforming Lives” Strategic Vision

Williams Baptist University has unveiled its strategic vision for the future in an initiative named “Renewing Minds, Transforming Lives.”  The vision, recently approved by WBU’s faculty and its board of trustees, will guide the university’s planning efforts over the next three to five years.  The university also released its newly stated Core Values.

“’Renewing Minds, Transforming Lives’ reflects extensive evaluation of the strengths of this great university and the needs it will address moving forward.  The result is a bold vision that will help establish WBU as a preeminent Christian university in the state of Arkansas beyond,” said Dr. Stan Norman, president of Williams.

The strategic plan is the result of the collaborative work of administration, faculty, and other members of the university community.  The resulting vision is set forth in six broad goals:

  1. Enhance Employee Quality of Life
  2. Develop Innovative Academic Programs
  3. Enrich Christian University Identity and Culture
  4. Strengthen Enrollment Management and Marketing
  5. Improve Campus Infrastructure
  6. Increase Student Support through Endowed Scholarships and Innovative Programs

“The initiatives outlined in this vision will move WBU forward in a significant way,” Norman commented.   “This plan outlines goals for enhanced support of faculty, staff, and students, expanded academic offerings, strengthened marketing and student recruitment, improved facilities and, above all, a continued emphasis on our identity as a Christian university.”

Each of the goals includes a detailed set of initiatives, as well as a vision for what the goals will accomplish for Williams by the year 2023.  The WBU president said the strategic vision will now be used to establish priorities for the university each year in its budgeting and planning processes.

“We developed an exhaustive list of needs and objectives that we want to address over the next three to five years, and then we prioritized those objectives and categorized them accordingly.  ‘Renewing Minds, Transforming Lives’ is a strategic vision that provides a clear roadmap for WBU as it plans for the future,” Norman said.

The strategic vision places a high priority on enhancing quality of life for WBU employees, which includes enhancing salaries and making other improvements for faculty and staff.  “WBU will continue to strive to provide the highest possible level of employee benefits, including health care, retirement, and university housing.  WBU will also work to improve fitness and recreation opportunities for faculty, staff, and their families,” the document states.

In developing innovative academic programs, the plan aims to expand the university’s influence and mission through both graduate and undergraduate programming.  The vision says, “Although not limited to the following areas, WBU will proactively identify and strategically implement educational initiatives and degree programs in the fields of health care, counseling, business, education, and ministry. WBU will be known both for excellence in the quality of academic programming and for innovation in the use of technology for all educational initiatives.”

The vision also places a priority on enriching WBU’s Christian university identity and culture, stating, “WBU will enrich its identity and campus culture, producing an environment befitting an outstanding Christ-centered university.  Christian commitment will be pervasive and transformative in all aspects of university life.”  Among the areas to be addressed are spiritual life programs, student life activities, strengthened alumni-relations, enriched school traditions, and improved strategic branding initiatives.

To continue to grow its student body, the plan calls for WBU to strengthen its enrollment management and marketing functions, asserting, “By 2023, WBU will have increased image and heightened brand awareness locally and nationally.  Special attention will be devoted to increasing marketing initiatives within the state of Arkansas.”  The plan specifically targets student recruitment, donor support, alumni involvement and brand awareness for growth.

Improving the university’s infrastructure is a priority, as well.  “WBU will develop and implement a plan to meet the needs of growing academic and athletic programs, space for the fine arts programs and performances, student resident facilities, and other projects as identified.  Resources to fund these initiatives will be identified and developed through strategic-planning processes,” the vision notes.

Finally, the strategic vision aims to help Williams students find the resources to attend the university, noting, “WBU will aggressively expand existing scholarship programs as well as increase scholarship resources to recruit and retain targeted populations.  The university will launch innovative programs and initiatives to assist students in funding their WBU education.”

Full details of “Renewing Minds, Transforming Lives” can be found on the WBU website at https://williamsbu.edu/renewing-minds/.

Along with its strategic vision, WBU released its Core Values, which summarize foundational principles and priorities of the institution.  The Core Values were developed this fall by a task force of faculty, staff and administration.  They are identified as:

  1. Christ-Centered Focus
  2. Academic Excellence
  3. Spiritual Formation
  4. Nurturing Community
  5. Servant Leadership

Each of the Core Values includes a detailed explanation of its impact on WBU.

“These Core Values are not new to WBU, but rather reflect what this institution has endeavored to do throughout its 77-year history.  Countless lives have been changed at WBU because of these Core Values, and this document simply codifies those values in writing.  These beliefs embody the biblical commitments that have guided the university in the past, and we believe these convictions will continue to direct us as we work to advance our mission of distinctive, Christian higher education,” said Norman.

The Core Values were also approved by the board of trustees at their meeting Dec. 7.  They can be read in full at https://williamsbu.edu/core-values/.

Expert on Millennials in the Workplace to Speak at Hendrix

Hendrix College will host Bill Imada, the founder, chair, and chief connectivity officer of IW Group and co-founder of the National Millennial Community, on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, at 3 p.m. in Reves Recital Hall, Trieschmann Fine Arts Building. An informal reception and networking opportunity will follow in Trieschmann Gallery. The event is free and open to central Arkansas business leaders and employment recruiters.

Imada will speak on how businesses can engage, motivate, and manage employees who are part of the Millennial generation. He will draw upon his own work with IW Group (which, like Conway-based Acxiom, is an IPG agency) related to advertising, marketing, and communications within the growing multicultural and generational markets. Imada will also share what he has learned through working with the National Millennial Community, a group of next-gen leaders in 41 states and the District of Columbia who engage in civil discourse on critical issues our country faces. In less than three years, the group has met with more than 150 corporate, foundation, governmental, and nonprofit leaders.

Earlier in the day, Imada will deliver the keynote address to the approximately 100 students attending Hendrix College’s Career Term, where he will focus on the challenges and opportunities of being a Millennial in today’s workplace.

“Bill is engaged and engaging, and we’re so happy to have connected with him,” said Sarah Donaghy, coordinator of community partnerships for the College. “As plans came together to have him speak to our students, he was enthusiastic about including a time during his visit when he could share his expertise with community leaders, too.”

“I’m thrilled to be able to introduce my friend Bill Imada to the Hendrix community and our neighbors,” said Hendrix College President Bill Tsutsui. “I’m sure his perspectives on generational and multicultural issues will provide a number of thought-provoking concepts to consider.”

For nearly three decades, Imada has worked with some of the top domestic and global companies, including City of Hope, Coca-Cola, General Motors, HBO, Lexus, McDonald’s, MGM Resorts International, Southern California Edison, Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., Walt Disney Imagineering, Warner Bros. Pictures, Walmart Stores, Walt Disney Studios, Wells Fargo, Westfield Malls and many others. His areas of expertise include advertising, branding, multicultural communications, experiential marketing, crisis management, partnership marketing, public relations, and workforce development.

Imada is active in civic and community affairs and serves on more than a dozen boards and advisory councils, including the Advertising Educational Foundation, Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship, Center for Asian American Media, Coalition for Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, LAGRANT Foundation, and the PBS Foundation. He was appointed to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders under President Barack Obama; he and three other commissioners continue to provide a perspective on Asian-American and Pacific-Islander concerns to federal leaders under the current administration. He also serves on the advisory councils for several universities and colleges, including California State University, Northridge (Los Angeles), University of Florida, University of Southern California, and Western Connecticut State University (Danbury, Conn.).

Richie Blosch named winner of Ouachita’s 2018 McBeth Concerto Competition Richie Blosch named winner of Ouachita’s 2018 McBeth Concerto Competition

Richie Blosch named winner of Ouachita’s 2018 McBeth Concerto Competition

Ouachita Baptist University junior Richie Blosch was named this year’s winner of the W. Francis and Mary McBeth Wind and Percussion Concerto Competition on Dec. 7. He performed “Concerto for Marimba – I. Despedida” by Ney Rosauro.

Blosch is a music major from Fort Worth, Texas. He received a monetary award of $500 and may be featured as a soloist with the Ouachita Wind Ensemble in the 2018 spring semester.

“It’s one of the greatest feelings to win a competition like that because it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the most talented, but it means the judges connected with you and your performance and they liked it,” said Blosch, who is a percussion student of Dr. Ryan Lewis, associate professor of music. “It made my heart feel so weightless and full of energy.”

Sierra Westberg, a senior instrumental music education major from Arkadelphia, Ark., earned second place for her alto saxophone performance, along with an award of $300. Morgan Taylor, a senior music industry major from Hot Springs, Ark., received third place and an award of $200for her saxophone performance.

Other students who competed include: Holli Barger (horn), a sophomore instrumental music education major from Carrollton, Texas; Cayli Campbell (trombone), a senior instrumental performance major from Texarkana, Texas; Danielle Schaal (horn), a senior biology major from Fayetteville, Ark.; C.J. Slatton (alto saxophone), a senior instrumental music education major from Paragould, Ark.; Ashlynne Turner (clarinet), a sophomore instrumental music education major from Burleson, Texas; and Blake Turner (trumpet), a senior instrumental music education major from Malvern, Ark.

This was the 13th year of the annual competition, which features outstanding Ouachita instrumental students. It is sponsored by Mary McBeth in honor of her late husband, Dr. W. Francis McBeth, former Arkansas composer laureate and longtime professor of music at Ouachita.

Pianists accompanying the students throughout the performance were Kristen La Madrid, Sunday Monroe and Elsen Portugal.

Lyon College students pitch their entrepreneurial ideas

A post-grad baseball program, a golf club warmer and a hemp farming operation were among the ideas pitched by entrepreneurship students Tuesday, December 10, in an Enactus business pitch competition.

Eight teams presented their ideas to an audience that included Batesville Mayor Rick Elumbaugh, Parks Director Jeff Owens, area business owners and other students.

Dr. Angela Buchanan, assistant professor of business and economics, is the Enactus chapter adviser.

The competition called “Pitch Slap” was the final presentation for Buchanan’s entrepreneurship class. Enactus hosted the event to serve as a model for future pitch competitions that would be open possibly to entrepreneurs in the Batesville area. If nothing else, the entrepreneurship class will present business pitches next fall as the final class project. Jake Wilson served as host for the evening. Demio Enterprises and Shadrach’s Coffee were the top pitches.

Among the ideas pitched were:

• Post-Grad Baseball – Ryan Lewis, Rease Kinley, Mekhi Malvo-McFall and Kylan Barnett explained that the program would provide a second chance for high school baseball players to continue the sport without losing a year of eligibility. They said that of the thousands of high school baseball players, only 11.5 percent go on to play ball at the college level.

Based in Scottsdale, Ariz., the one-year program would allow recent high school graduates to continue to hone their skills before they begin their college careers. They said there would be five competitors in the U.S., but that Post-Grad Baseball would be $4,000 less expensive than the competition. The business would be financed by a bank loan that would be paid back by tuition and fees charged the participants.

• Stiff Stix – Mitch Cannon and Tomas Mariscotti, both members of the Lyon golf team, pitched the idea of a battery-powered golf grip warmer. The device, similar to a heating pad, would be wrapped around the club and fastened in place by Velcro. This would keep the grip warm for golfers in colder climates. There are 60 million golfers in the world, and there would be no direct competition. Cannon, the owner, said the business would be based in Jonesboro. The device would cost $13.50 per unit and he estimated sales of 60,000 units in the first year. The first step would be having a prototype designed and built.

• J.P.T. Hemp Farming – Tyler Vanlandingham, Peyton Noland, Joseph Mahe and Josh Sierra proposed a private farm operation in northern Arkansas to grow hemp. Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant that is grown specifically for its industrial uses. One of the fastest growing plants, it can be refined into a variety of commercial items including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, rope and animal feed.

The Arkansas Legislature legalized the growing of hemp in 2017 but licenses must be obtained from the state Plant Board. Once they obtain a license, J.P.T. would lease land and equipment for the farming operation. It would be financed by a $400,000 bank loan.

• Demio Enterprises – Pitched by Josh Settimio, Josh Abel and Jake Wilson, Demio Enterprises is a marketing and consulting enterprise that would offer web design, branding and large and small event planning. In their presentation, they described Batesville as both historic and progressive. They want to become a liaison to Impact Independence, the strategic planning initiative. They also want to help establish an entrepreneur incubator program.

• NLine, LLC – Zac Lilly, Sam Taylor, Jacob Reithemeyer presented an idea for an application that would use contractors to wait in line for customers who use the app. There are similar companies but they are located in New York City and Los Angeles and do not market in most of the country. Not only would the app connect customers with those who would stand in line for them, it also would have a “marketplace” feature showing customers new release dates, prices and deals. It also would have an NLine Guard feature that would connect customers with contractors who would serve as bodyguards and security guards.

• JAB Entertainment – Andrew Hyde, Bruce Whitehead, John Bentley pitched the idea of bar and restaurant that would offer various entertainment activities similar to Dave and Buster’s. It would have an arcade, billiards, mini-golf and other activities. The proposed location would be in Independence Square between JC Penney Co. and Harbor Freight. The competition would be movie theaters, bowling alley, and the Batesville Community Center. The estimated start-up cost is $500,000 to $2 million. Estimated revenue is $40,000 a month.

• Shadrachs Coffee Roasting Co. – Zac Stewart, Clark Thornton, Dennis Maxwell proposed opening a branch of the coffee roasting and sales company located in Jonesboro. Stewart described the proposed location as a small structure similar to a food truck that would be on Myers Street behind Colton’s.Steak House.

• AMF Bowling – Presented by Hannah Stucky, Karina Chavez, Destiny Nunez and Lilly Lopez.

Enactus is an international organization that connects students with academic and business leaders through entrepreneurial-based projects. Guided by academic advisers and business experts, the student leaders of Enactus create and implement entrepreneurial projects. The experience helps students develop the talent and perspective that are essential to leadership in a challenging world.

JBU’s Department of Teacher Education Recognized for National Excellence in Educator Prep

Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers by Meeting Rigorous CAEP National Accreditation Standards

Dr. Connie Matchell, head of JBU’s Department of Teacher Education, shares teaching techniques with a JBU education major. JBU’s Department of Teacher Education program received accreditation in educator prep by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

John Brown University is one of 52 providers in the nation to receive accreditation for their educator preparation programs (EPP) by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP Accreditation Council’s review for the fall 2018 resulted in 52 newly-accredited EPPs, bringing the total to 196 providers approved under the CAEP Teacher Preparation Standards, which are rigorous, nationally recognized standards that were developed to ensure excellence in educator preparation programs.

“These institutions meet high standards so that their students receive an education that prepares them to succeed in a diverse range of classrooms after they graduate,” CAEP President Dr. Christopher A. Koch said. “Seeking CAEP Accreditation is a significant commitment on the part of an educator preparation provider.”

CAEP is the sole nationally recognized accrediting body for educator preparation. Accreditation is a nongovernmental activity based on peer review that serves the dual functions of assuring quality and promoting improvement. Currently, more than 800 educator preparation providers participate in the CAEP Accreditation system, including many previously accredited through former standards.

Educator preparation providers seeking accreditation must pass peer review on five standards, which are based on two principles. The first is solid evidence that the provider’s graduates are competent and caring educators. The second principle is solid evidence that the provider’s educator staff have the capacity to create a culture of evidence and use it to maintain and enhance the quality of the professional programs they offer.

If a program fails to meet one of the five standards, it is placed on probation for two years. Probation may be lifted in two years if a program provides evidence that it meets the standard.

JBU has teacher preparation programs both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Graduates from JBU are well respected, and teach in schools across the country and around the world.

“Our students, faculty and public school partners should be very proud of the work they are doing. We maintain high expectations for our teacher preparation program, and CAEP Accreditation validates the hard work we are doing,” Dr. Connie Matchell, head of JBU’s Department of Teacher Education, said. “We are very pleased to provide a nationally accredited teacher education program to our students and their families.”

JBU joins 51 other providers to receive accreditation this fall, including Boston College, Louisiana Tech University, Henderson State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of Nebraska Lincoln.

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation(www.CAEPnet.org) advances excellence in educator preparation through evidence-based accreditation that assures quality and supports continuous improvement to strengthen P-12 student learning.

WBU Board Welcomes New Members

The Board of Trustees at Williams Baptist University welcomed seven new members at its meeting Friday, Dec. 7.  The board, which met on the WBU campus in Walnut Ridge, Ark., also approved a new minor in political science and heard an upbeat report on student recruitment.

It was the first meeting for seven trustees who were appointed this fall to the 24-member board.  The new trustees include: Jamar Andrews, pastor of Word Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Ark.; Cliff Cabaness II, a businessman from Ft. Smith, Ark.; Dr. Jeff Crawford, lead pastor of ministries at Cross Church in Springdale, Ark.; Dr. James Nichols, pastor of First Baptist Church in Marion, Ark.; Zac Reno, lead pastor at Summit Church in Benton, Ark.; Dr. Jim Shaw, pastor of discipleship at First Baptist Church in Rogers, Ark.; and Dr. Jody Smotherman, vice president at White River Medical Center in Batesville, Ark.

“This is a great new group of trustees that has quickly embraced the mission of Williams Baptist University.  They are enthusiastic about serving on our board, and we are very excited to have them join us as we continue to expand the influence of WBU across the state of Arkansas and beyond,” said Dr. Stan Norman, president of Williams.

In academics, the board approved a new minor in political science, and also voted to change the name of the history department to the Department of History & Political Science. The new minor will be available to WBU students starting next fall.

The board got good news on student recruitment for next year.  Angela Flippo, vice president for enrollment management, reported that applications from prospective new students are up 47 percent compared to the same period last year, and inquiries from interested students have doubled.  WBU has also seen a 58 percent increase in the number of interested students making campus visits this fall.

The Williams board had voted at its last meeting, in September, to enter into an agreement with Ruffalo Noel Levitz, a prominent national firm that specializes in student recruitment and financial aid.  Flippo credited the firm with helping WBU boost its recruitment numbers so far this year.

WBU trustees are appointed by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, and they serve three-year terms.

Cole Jester wins 10th annual Ouachita Business Plan Competition

Ouachita Baptist University’s Hickingbotham School of Business hosted its 10th annual Business Plan Competition on Dec. 5. Cole Jester, a senior Christian studies/biblical studies major from Benton, Ark., placed first in the competition with his business plan for Bone Dri and received a $4,000 cash prize. Jester was advised by Bryan McKinney, dean of the Hickingbotham School of Business, associate professor of business law and university counsel.

First place winner Cole Jester, a senior Christian studies/biblical studies major from Benton, Ark.

Bone Dri is based on a product designed to dry wet hunting waders and boots. A hunter himself, Jester said he “wanted to build a business on what I knew and understood.”

“One cold morning, I realized my duck hunting waders were always wet, and it made my feet horribly cold,” Jester said. “When our first prototype, a pouch of silica gel, first dried out my wader boot, I realized we had stumbled upon an amazing product.

“This business competition win was affirming, not only to the idea, but to the kind of education Ouachita provides,” he added.

Immunovate earned second place in the competition. Immunovate, which seeks to develop a better test for screening prostate cancer, was presented by Joey Dean, a senior biology major from Hot Springs, Ark.; Joshua Lantzsch, a junior finance major from Rogers, Ark.; and Sykes Martin, a senior biology major from Sheridan, Ark. They were advised by Dr. Blake Johnson, assistant professor of biology, and received a $3,000 cash prize.

Kailee Jones, a senior biology major from Redwater, Texas, and Mallory Tabler, a senior biology major from Bentonville, Ark., received third place for their business, Quikgive; they were advised by Jeanie Curry, assistant professor of accounting. Quikgive is an online platform that helps connect donors with homeless shelters in order for donors to give exactly what the shelters need. Jones and Tabler received a $2,000 cash prize.

These three teams will advance to compete against the winners of Henderson State University’s competition during the OBU/HSU Business Plan Competition, which will take place in February 2019.

Ouachita’s Business Plan Competition is open to students from any discipline. Students are advised by faculty as they develop and practice the presentation of their business plan.

“At the heart of this competition is a student pitching an idea to a panel of judges and that student having to respond to the judges’ questions,” McKinney said. “That opportunity is tremendous for the students in the 10th year just as it was in the first year.”

In recent years, Ouachita students also have competed and placed in the statewide Governor’s Cup Business Competition, the same competition that Ouachita’s is modeled after.

“Last year, three of the state’s 12 semi-finalist teams were Ouachita teams, and two of the six finalist teams were Ouachita teams. One of our teams finished second overall last year,” McKinney added. “We’ve done quite well in the statewide competition, which I believe points towards the progression of the Ouachita Business Plan Competition.”

Lyon College Announces Addition of Men’s Lacrosse, Monty Curtis Named Head Coach

Lyon College President Dr. W. Joseph King announced the addition of men’s lacrosse and introduced the team’s new head coach, Monty Curtis, at a press conference Thursday, December 6.

The College will apply for membership in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA), a league of eight college lacrosse conferences. Lyon will petition to join the MCLA’s Lone Star Alliance (LSA), which consists of teams in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. The team would start competing in 2021 with potential for NAIA affiliation in the future.

The sport’s new coach, Curtis, has more than two decades of experience in coaching lacrosse, and has helped to move a college team to national affiliation before. Curtis, a charter member of the Southwestern University lacrosse team, was a player, coach, and faculty adviser for the program in Georgetown, Texas. He coached the team to its first win, as well as its first Southwest Lacrosse Association (SWLA) Championship. The SWLA was the precursor to the LSA Conference. Curtis also served as league president during his tenure with the Southwest Lacrosse Association. Curtis left Southwestern with a 70-56 record.

Curtis went on to take over the only National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) lacrosse team in Louisiana at Centenary College in Shreveport. He was coach when the team had its first win.

“I am humbled to have this opportunity to introduce lacrosse to the Lyon community,” said Curtis. “What we build has the chance to last and positively impact real lives and the reputation of the sport and the College.”

Curtis said a few factors he will focus on for developing the program will be recruiting, fundamentals, and game strategies.

“A player who spends time practicing the fundamentals will see their efforts rewarded quickly; their success is not necessarily dependent on their physical stature,” he said.

According to collegesportsscholarships.com, lacrosse is one of the fastest growing team sports in the country. With more than 60,000 competitors in the United States, the number of players has doubled since the late 1990s, early 2000s.

Today, lacrosse is found nationwide. Over 400 schools compete at the NCAA level, 32 at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) level, and more than 200 colleges and universities offer men’s club teams. Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) is the primary association for men’s club teams. The MCLA has eligibility rules and All-American selections, much like that of the NAIA and NCAA.