Dalton State College launches athletics program

Dalton State College launches athletics program

February 1st, 2012 by Perla Trevizo in News

Students make their way between classes at Dalton State College in this file photo.


* Former assistant athletic director for Stetson University.

* In 2000 at 29, he was the youngest Division I head coach in the country.

* Played basketball for Furman University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in political science in 1993.

* Was the Southern Conference Freshman of the Year in basketball in 1990.

* Graduated as one of only four players to score 1,400 points and grab 800 rebounds during his career.

* Earned his juris doctor degree from Wake Forest University School of Law in 1996 and worked at an Atlanta law firm until he joined Stetson University in 1997.

Source: Dalton State College

Dalton State College is introducing its first intercollegiate athletics program director, a step that brings it closer to its goal of becoming a traditional four-year college.

"This is a historic time in the life of our college," said John Schwenn, president at Dalton State. "[It] will bring a vibrancy to our campus that we hope will spill over the community and region."

The new athletic director is Derek Waugh, now assistant athletic director for Stetson University in DeLand, Fla.

There will be a news conference at 11 a.m. today at Dalton State to introduce Waugh, an Atlanta native, and his family.

The program initially will be funded with a special $50 athletic fee students approved in 2010. Since the fall of 2011, the school has collected about $600,000, the current budget for the program. Waugh's salary is $87,500.

The goal is for the program to be self-sufficient through gate receipts and athletic revenue, school officials said.

Patton Hunt, an education major and former Student Government Association president, said most people who participated in an online survey before the fee was approved were in favor of an athletics program.

"Sports have always been part of Dalton State's history," he said. "Even though the program hasn't been here for some quite time now, it's still in the back of people's memories."

From 1968 to 1978, Dalton Junior College - the precursor to Dalton State - had a very successful basketball team, the Roadrunners. The team ranked in the top 10 nationally for eight of the 10 years it played.

But rapid growth at the college and the increasing expense of the athletic program forced the institution to disband it in spring 1978, according to the Dalton State Magazine for Alumni and Friends.

This will be Dalton State's first intercollegiate athletics program as a four-year college.

"I know some students are upset with the athletic fee," Hunt said. "It has hit at an inconvenient time, but once it gets going, it will add a whole other dimension to the city and the college."

There are no concrete plans for what sports will be played, but Waugh said he would like to start with basketball and later add other sports such as golf or tennis.

The most important thing, Waugh said, is to sponsor sports that allow students to get involved.

Schwenn said he hopes to have the program up and running in the next few years with up to 10 sports, adding a couple each year.

Hunt, who is finishing his last semester at Dalton State, said he has mixed feelings.

"I'm excited that it's here and it's happening, but I would have loved to be a student when the teams are actually playing," he said.