Women's Tennis Program Will Return to Missouri State University
Sept. 18, 2013
SPRINGFIELD - Work will soon begin to bring a women's tennis team back to Missouri State University beginning with the 2014-15 academic year. It would become the 11th women's sport and 17th sport overall at Missouri State.
The move was approved Wednesday by the Missouri State Board of Governors' Executive Committee. It was a follow-up to a task force recommendation and endorsement by the Board of Governors at its August 1 summer retreat.
The addition of women's tennis was recommended by special task force called by President Clifton Smart III earlier this year to ensure the University's long-term compliance with Federal Title IX regulations. During its four months of work, the task force identified tennis, sand volleyball, lacrosse and bowling as potential expansion sports to fit the University's needs at the NCAA Division I level. Other sports could be added in the future.
"We have a plan in place that everyone has agreed to," said Smart. "With the state budget picture resolved, we are now ready to implement the plan. Step one is adding women's tennis."
The Executive Committee's action is expected to be ratified by the full Board of Governors at its next meeting, Oct. 18. A national search for the program's head coach will begin after the Board takes action with plans to have that individual in place later this semester to begin the recruiting and scheduling process for next year.
"Bringing back women's tennis is a good first step," said MSU Director of Athletics Kyle Moats. "We have a long tennis tradition at Missouri State, an active tennis community and great facilities in Springfield. Anytime you can expand your athletics program, it's a good thing, and this move will really help our department and the University."
Dr. Mary Jo Wynn was the program's first tennis coach when the University began sponsoring women's tennis in 1958. The program was discontinued in 2006 as part of an Athletics restructuring initiative that saw the University decrease its total number of sports from 21 to its current count of 16 programs. Men's cross country, men's indoor and outdoor track and field, and men's tennis were also discontinued as part of the 2006 initiative.
According to Moats, Missouri State will immediately begin the process of having its women's tennis program added to the Missouri Valley Conference schedule for 2014-15.