GSW will add men’s cross country but cancel men’s tennis

Published 5:43 am Tuesday, June 11, 2019

AMERICUS – There’s an old saying that goes like this: ‘When one door closes, another one opens.’ That is what has been happening in Georgia Southwestern State University athletics lately.

In addition to hiring Aaron Coombs as the Hurricanes’ new men’s head basketball coach, the university has decided to add men’s cross country as an intercollegiate sport and to cancel the men’s tennis program.

“We’ve never had men’s cross country before, so we’re certainly excited about all of the possibilities that the addition of that sport is going to bring not only to the university, but to the community,” GSW Athletic Director Mike Leeder said. “It will be exciting to have a brand new sport starting from scratch. We’re looking forward to getting this thing off and running in the fall. Then we will have a partner for our women’s cross country team. We’re certainly excited about the addition of our 10th sport.”

While GSW has decided to add men’s cross country, the university had to make the tough decision to cancel the men’s tennis program. According to Leeder, the May 31 retirement of long-time GSW men’s and women’s tennis coach J. Brennon Sewell spurred a conversation about how GSW could be fiscally responsible, while giving its student-athletes the best chance for competitive success. Sewell has headed up both the GSW men’s and women’s tennis teams for the past 18 years. Before GSW made the move from NAIA to NCAA Division II status in 2006, Sewell guided the men’s tennis team to an overall record of 18-5 and a berth in the NAIA National Semifinals in 2004. In 2002, Sewell guided the Lady Hurricanes to a 15-4 overall record and a berth in the NAIA National Tournament Round of 16.

“I think any time there are changes, you kind of look at the different sports offerings that you have on campus and you reassess some things,” Leeder said. “We had to figure out where could we best allocate our resources for competitive success. We took a long look and we had an athletics committee look at all of our sports offerings. We just felt that at this time going forward, adding men’s cross country and discontinuing men’s tennis was in our best interest.”