New women's varsity sport already has strong support on campus
Introducing: women's equestrian!
UGA will add women's equestrian as its 21st varsity sport overall, its 12th sport for women, and will begin formal competition in the 2002-03 academic year. Though its first competition is more than a year away, Georgia will begin developing the program immediately with the hiring of a head coach, formalizing of facilities, and organizing the transition from an established club sport on campus to varsity status.
UGA will begin equestrian competition in 2002-03. South Carolina is the only SEC school with a team, but Auburn will add one. Four are needed for a conference championship.
The UGA Athletic Association selected equestrian after a feasibility study was conducted by faculty athletics representative Gary Couvillon and assistant athletic director Hoke Wilder. Equestrian has a strong support system already in existence, both on campus, in the community, and throughout the state of Georgia.
UGA's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences recently finished construction of its Animal Science Arena, located on South Milledge Avenue. It will serve as Georgia's home site for competitions. The animal and dairy science department also sponsors the UGA Equestrian Club, the oldest club sport on campus.
South Carolina is currently the only Southeastern Conference school whose equestrian team has varsity-sport status. Auburn has announced that it will add an equestrian team beginning next year and two others have committed to the sport. According to conference rules, a minimum of four schools must be represented in any sport for the SEC to sponsor a conference championship.
"We're very excited that equestrian will be a varsity sport," says Dooley. "Other sports were considered and some had great merit, including lacrosse and rowing. I think it's likely that at some point in the not-too-distant future, we'll give strong consideration to adding another female sport."
Georgia finished third in the 2000-01 NCAA Division I Sears Directors' Cup standings, which rank the best overall collegiate athletics programs in the country out of 318 Division I colleges and universities.
It marked the second time in three years that the overall UGA sports program has finished in the top three in the annual competition; Georgia finished second in 1999. Only Stanford and UCLA have more Sears Cup points over the past three years.
Georgia used the strength of three NCAA titlesin women's swimming, women's golf, and men's tennisto top all other schools in the SEC (Florida finished seventh). The Dogs posted high finishes in many other sports. including gymnastics (second), women's tennis (final four), men's golf (fifth), and baseball (College World Series). UGA also had many other teams reach NCAA tournaments, which resulted in additional Sears Cup points.
"I think that our success in the Sears Directors' Cup competition is a great tribute to our coaches, their staffs, and the student-athletes," says Vince Dooley. "Three NCAA championships is a tremendous accomplishment and certainly a special commendation should go to the coaches and staffs of our women's golf, men's tennis, and women's swimming and diving teams.
"However, we should also remember that many others contributed to this overall effort with outstanding seasons. Certainly our baseball team, which has not produced any Sears Cup points in recent years, had a large impact by getting to the College World Series. The 60 points from baseball moved us from seventh to third in the final rankings. I think the overall season for our athletic teams is a great point of pride for the Georgia Athletic Association as well as for the entire University."
Kim Black and Kelly Miller rack up academic accolades
Swimmer Kim Black and basketball player Kelly Miller, who both made All-America and Academic All-America teams during 2001, have been awarded NCAA Post-Graduate scholarships.
The scholarships earned by Black and Miller represent the 46th and 47th won by UGA student-athletes, the fifth-highest total of any school in the nation. Black becomes the 15th recipient from the women's swimming and diving program, which is more than most schools in the country. Miller is the second Lady Bulldog basketball player to earn the honor. Only seven SEC women's basketball players have received NCAA post-graduate scholarships, including Miller and former Georgia standout Tiffany Walker in 1997.
The $5,000 scholarships are awarded to student-athletes who maintain at least a 3.00 cumulative grade-point average (4.00 scale) and perform with distinction in varsity competition. The NCAA annually awards 174 post-graduate scholarships to student-athletes who have excelled academically and athletically and are in their last year of intercollegiate competition.
Black (right) is the 15th UGA swimmer to be named an NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarmore than many schools can claim. Miller is the second Lady Bulldog basketball player to achieve the honor.