SAN ANTONIO (March 2, 2020) - The Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) Athletic Department will launch competitive coed cheer and dance teams in the upcoming 2020-2021 season, and will reinstate women's tennis and golf.
Athletic Director Shane Hurley said, "We are excited to enhance opportunities for student-athletes to attend college and participate in collegiate athletics at OLLU."
Competitive scholarships – both athletic and academic – offered to all other varsity sports, will be available to eligible student-athletes interested in joining these teams.
More than 1.5 million athletes participate in competitive cheer and dance, with more than 5,000 teams worldwide at the high-school level. According to recent National Federation of State High School Associations' (NFSA) statistics, Texas ranks No. 1 in the nation in competitive cheer/dance programs.
OLLU will become the only university in San Antonio and South Texas with competitive cheer and dance programs in the NAIA. Currently, out of the 251 NAIA institutions, 77 are sponsoring coed competitive cheer and dance. Other Texas NAIA schools with these programs include Texas Wesleyan University (Fort Worth) and Wayland Baptist University (Plainview).
"We expect our cheer and dance teams to join other varsity teams at OLLU in being competitive and also active and visible throughout our community. They will have equal access to all athletic benefits from athletic training, to promotion, to stats-taking and other sports information activities," Hurley commented.
With the addition of these four teams in 2020-2021, the university's cadre of varsity teams will include seven men's teams, eight women's teams and two coed teams. OLLU will compete regionally and nationally through the NAIA in cheer/dance, and through the Red River Athletic Conference/NAIA in golf and tennis.
"We are thrilled that there is renewed interest in women's golf and tennis. We previously sponsored competitive teams in these two sports, but had difficulty fielding a complete squad. We are glad we now have a window to open to welcome back these two teams," Hurley said.
Men's Golf Head Coach Arnie Martinez and Men's Tennis Head Coach Sal Castillo will add women's coaching duties to their slate. The university is seeking a head coach for competitive cheer/dance. Qualified candidates can apply online.
The university began its intercollegiate athletics program through the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in 2007 with men's soccer and women's volleyball. The following year, OLLU added women's soccer, men's and women's tennis and men's and women's golf. In 2009, men's and women's basketball and cross-country, as well as softball, were added. Five years later, baseball and men's and women's track and field began competing.
"Our programming has consistently attracted scholarly athletes to OLLU, and these new programs will enable more men and women to achieve their dreams at OLLU and support our goals of providing our students with increased avenues for athletic competition," Hurley said.
Athletes interested in trying out for one of the OLLU teams can read about specific NAIA eligibility requirements online.