Saturday, April 30, 2011

WCU AD: Ask Chip Smith

April 29, 2011  (courtesy

Catamount fans,

It has been while since I posted to the apologies for this lapse. It has been a busy time on the Western Carolina campus for the last few weeks. The most notable excitement has been the naming of a new chancellor for the University. Dr. David Belcher will take over the responsibilities of WCU Chancellor on July 1, 2011.

I've had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Belcher a couple of times since the announcement and am very much looking forward to working with him. He has a strong background in intercollegiate athletics, having just chaired the NCAA Peer Certification Review for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. This review is performed in a 10-year cycle for all NCAA institutions. It is a very thorough, in-depth analysis of the progress and procedures of each institution, involving the entire campus community. It also provides a tremendous overview of the entire athletic department, its personnel, policies, procedures, progress, and plans for the future. The experience and knowledge that Dr. Belcher will bring from this review will be invaluable for WCU Athletics in the coming years. He also will take a very active part in making our athletic program successful, coming from an institution that sent both its men's and women's programs to the NCAA Tournament this year.

Now on to the questions:

Michael S. asks: What are the chances of WCU adding another varsity sport, and will we play UNCC in football?Michael, in regard to adding an additional sport, we are constantly evaluating our mix of opportunities. Currently, any additional team that would be added would be for women student-athletes, in accordance with gender equity requirements. We are annually conducting interest surveys and holding on-campus forums to encourage student feedback into the most promising sports to add. We will continue this process and encourage you to take part in the forums next fall. As for playing UNCC in football, we have already signed a two-year contract to play the 49ers. They will come to Cullowhee on November 1, 2014, and we will return the favor at a date to be determined in the 2015 season.

Drew asks: Why don't the Catamounts have a single apparel sponsor?

Drew, as you know, many athletic departments have any single sponsor for all of their sports. For the most part, these are major institutions that field several teams and have national and international fan followings. Much of the impact these sponsors receive is through the sale of logo apparel. Conversely, there are a few institutions below the football championship (FCS) level that have this kind of recognition. Therefore, coaches rely on relationships that they have built over the years with different companies. For example, Coach [Larry]Hunter has a relationship with the Adidas company, Coach [Karen] Middleton with Nike, and Coach [Bobby] Moranda with DeMarini. Other coaches have relationships with other apparel manufacturers and are able to supply gear to their teams from those companies.

Again thank you for your interest and your questions and please keep those letters coming....

Go Catamounts!