published Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Tennessee Temple joins U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association

Tennessee Temple is a Christian liberal arts college and seminary in Chattanooga. Staff File Photo.
Tennessee Temple is a Christian liberal arts college and seminary in Chattanooga. Staff File Photo.

Tennessee Temple University has increased its options for postseason sports competition by joining the United States Collegiate Athletic Association.

Temple will remain an active member of the National Christian College Athletic Association, with which it has been identified for 45 years, according to athletic director Kenrick Liburd. For now, though, the NCCAA includes a group of longtime top-level NAIA institutions waiting out provisional membership in NCAA Division II. That includes Union University and Trevecca Nazarene and just-added Lee University and Mississippi College in the Mid-East Region that includes Temple.

"This gives us one other opportunity for postseason competition with the small-college concept," Liburd said Tuesday. "The USCAA is very cost-effective, and it includes a number of schools we already were playing in some sports, including Oakwood University, Florida College and Victory University."

Based in Newport News, Va., the USCAA sponsors championships in every sport Temple offers except track and field, plus golf, and it does include cross country.

Temple, meanwhile, will be beginning volleyball season on Aug. 28 with graduate assistant Liva Brivule serving as interim head coach. Latonia Allen, who guided the Lady Crusaders through a 14-18 season while also teaching and serving as TTU's head athletic trainer, recently resigned for personal reasons.

Temple was 12-23 under a part-time coach in 2011, and Liburd praised the progress and professionalism Allen brought to the program.

"We are very thankful for everything Latonia Allen did for us, and we wish her well," he said.

Brivule followed Allen from NCAA Division II member Davis and Elkins in West Virginia. She was a standout player for Kent State in Division I as well as a member of the Latvian national team.

"Liva has a vast knowledge of the game, and she's a great disciplinarian yet has a great rapport with the girls," Liburd said. "We didn't want to rush in finding the right successor to Coach Allen, so we will probably wait until January to do a full search. In the meantime we feel very fortunate to have Coach Brivule here to continue what Coach Allen has started."

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