“It’s a big deal for GW to be sort of bucking the trend here.”
The athletics department announced Sept. 3 that both men’s and women’s diving and track would be reinstated as varsity programs. Terry Weir, the men’s and women’s cross country head coach, will extent his duties to the track teams come the 2014 season. Hatchet Sports Editor Nick Ong met with Weir to discuss the game plan for this young program.
HATCHET: What was the team’s reaction when you told them the news?
WEIR: They’re excited, they’re out of their minds about it. And it’s a real big deal to add these four programs – with men and women – and they’re excited about having this opportunity to compete year round now, which you have to have in the running world. I think they’re really excited as well to see how supportive this athletics department is to track. Our sport needs it too. The sport over the years has taken a hit. Most schools are dropping them, a lot of them, specifically men’s track and cross country. So it’s a big deal for GW to be sort of bucking the trend here.
HATCHET: What is the plan in place for finding a facility to practice and compete in?
WEIR: In terms of practicing, nothing’s going to change. You know, we jog over to Georgetown and work over in Georgetown. But Georgetown doesn’t have a track either, they use a community track…and their girls were national champions two years ago. So in terms of having a track, we don’t really need it.
HATCHET: With the programs not set to compete until 2014, what’s the plan for this year in terms of recruiting and getting the program on its feet?
WEIR: The nice thing is now we can actually get into some of these top recruits that we’ve been trying to get for the last two to three years. And when you get the top athletes, the biggest thing from recruiting is they want that opportunity to compete against the best in the NCAA year-round in track. And we just didn’t have that opportunity.
HATCHET: When did talks about adding the track programs get underway?
WEIR:We didn’t talk seriously about it until last spring, so honestly it’s a really short time frame and [athletic director] Patrick [Nero] was awesome, sitting and listening to what I had to say. And then he brought in a lot of other administrators to come in and get this planned out, and it was really just a team effort on their part of putting all this together in a short time.
HATCHET:What does it mean – to you, recruits and the current athletes – to see an athletic department putting all this effort and money into a sport like track?
WEIR:It’s huge, because you see again, here’s a school that is typically in the NCAA, in Division I, and then track, you’re a non-revenue sport. You’re kind of in the bottom of the pecking order. You know, it’s all about football, it’s all about basketball, and you know, basketball is gonna be our big sport here, and it’ll be a revenue source. But all the other sports here, [Nero] treats them all the same, we’re all on the same level, and there’s no pecking order.