Bethel College might be a small school, but it’s constantly keeping up to date with the trends of college campus sports. Within the last few years Bethel has added multiple new sports and is looking at adding even more. It takes time to look deeply into these sports and determine whether or not they will succeed, The questions that must be answered are many.
We continue to look at sports that are growing regionally and nationally to determine if they are a good fit for our department and the overall mission of the college,” explained Tom Visker, Bethel’s athletic director.Bethel’s athletic department has been growing significantly within the last four years. Three sports have been added in Visker’s four-year tenure as athletic director. These sports include rugby, women’s lacrosse and competitive cheer. “We have a proposal to add three to four additional sports that the board of directors will consider at their spring board meeting,” said Visker. “If they are all approved, we will have expanded our athletic program from 15 teams to 22 teams over a six-year period. That is pretty aggressive growth for an athletic department.” This growth has led to new opportunities for students, and Bethel is still focusing on bringing in new students. “We have made recruiting commitments to keep our various rosters at expected levels,” said Visker. “We are also looking at increasing some roster sizes through the addition of development teams [such as reserves and JV].” Such a sharp incline in growth requires new coaches along with new students. Bethel has recently just added Alyssa Howell as the competitive cheerleading coach and Jeremy Brown as women’s lacrosse coach. These new staff members are ready to lead Bethel athletes into a successful new era of sports. There have been some trials with these new sports: lost games, changes in coaching staff, and young inexperienced athletes. However, head athletic trainer Sarah Hauck is still hopeful for these programs. She expressed that she feels these new sports have come a long way and that Bethel still has a long way to go in helping these new sports grow. “From the first home game and then from what I’ve seen, you can see the growth and progress,” she said. New sports teams aren’t the only changes planned. A new field house for the track team is in the works, planned to be built out by The Prairie. As for future changes and growth, time will only tell what the Pilots have planned for their students. (Photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash)