Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Midway University adds more sports; first home game for men's basketball team is Wednesday at 7 p.m.

By Matthew Hunter
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media
               This fall, Midway University opened its doors to men for the first time since it was founded in 1847. That meant the addition of men’s sports, and the school announced recently that it will add three more sports next fall.
               The new teams will be men’s tennis, men’s cross country and co-ed cheerleading.
               “They were natural extensions of what we already had,” Athletic Director Rusty Kennedy said in a phone interview. “We had the facilities in place and it made sense to expand.”
               The announcement came after the institution’s decision to add six teams earlier this year, bringing the total number of sports offered to 17.
               The men’s basketball team began play Friday at the Marian Classic in Indianapolis, losing to Marian University 90-76. It lost the second game of the event to Mount Vernon Nazarene University, 94-68.
Assistant Coach Marquis Estill and Coach Joe Krupinski watch
the men's basketball team practice. (Midway University photo)
               The team, which has former University of Kentucky standout Marquis Estill as assistant coach, tips off their first-ever home game against Lindsey Wilson College this Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Marshall Gymnasium.
               Both men’s golf and soccer are well underway. Kennedy is encouraged from what he has seen in the first couple of months of the seasons.
               “Our men’s golf team is solid and has had good finishes,” he said. “Soccer has a winning record and are third in their conference, which is impressive because there are highly ranked NAIA [National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics] teams they compete with. We are very excited for basketball, baseball and the rest of the sports to get underway in the coming months.”
               Next fall, Midway University will have men’s and women’s teams in cross-country, golf, soccer, tennis, equestrian hunt seat, equestrian Western, and cheerleading. Baseball for men, and volleyball and softball for women, are also offered. Kennedy said archery will also be co-ed starting next fall.
               “Thanks in part to the addition of male and co-ed sports this year, we’ve enjoyed a record undergraduate class of incoming students,” Midway President John Marsden said in the press release.
               Kennedy, who became athletic director about nine months ago, said athletics have been a strong component of the student life experience at Midway for more than 40 years, when the institution was Midway Junior College.
               As a result of Midway admitting men and the closing of Saint Catharine College near Springfield, participation in athletics has increased partly because student-athletes and coaches migrated from Saint Catharine.
               According to Kennedy, Midway had 92 student-athletes across eight different sports when he arrived. Now, Kennedy says, Midway has 260 student-athletes across 14 different sports.
               “The decision to add these new sports so early into the academic year is so our coaches and admission staff have ample time to work to recruit for the upcoming year,” Kennedy said in the press release.
               Midway coaches go far beyond the borders of Kentucky, and even the United States of America, to recruit prospective student-athletes. In men’s soccer alone there are players from Chile, England, Spain, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Panama. In baseball, there are athletes from California and Texas.
               “We try to recruit Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio the most,” said Kennedy. “It’s our best base but we recruit neighboring states and internationally as well. We are not bound by a geographic area.”
               Prospective student-athletes are encouraged to visit Midway’s athletic site and fill out a recruiting form to get in contact with coaches, according to Kennedy.
               “It’s an exciting time at Midway University with all the growth,” Kennedy concluded. “All the things we are doing is to benefit and to open up opportunities for our students.” 

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