By Jonny Gamet and Brock Sawyer
BJU Bruins and Vision Sporting Goods
Bob Jones University Bruins Director of Athletics, Dr. Neal Ring, today announced the addition of intercollegiate men’s baseball and women’s softball. The programs will play their first season of competition beginning in the spring of 2020.
“This is an exciting day,” Ring said. “We’ve been praying about adding softball and baseball for the last six years. We’re thrilled to add these programs. I’m thankful for the support of Dr. Pettit and the Board and look forward to welcoming these new student-athletes to the Bruins family.”
The recommendation to add these sports was made to the BJU Board of Trustees at the annual May meeting, and the board approved the addition of these programs to the intercollegiate lineup. Currently, the BJU Bruins compete in 13 varsity sports.
“Greenville is a rich area for baseball and softball and the Southeast affords a student-athlete the opportunity to compete in a favorable spring climate,” Dr. Ring said. “We anticipate attracting high quality students who are looking to align with our institutional goals to Learn, Love and Lead while utilizing their sport to glorify God.”
This year, the Bruins applied to the NCAA for membership as a Division III program. This request was approved by the NCAA committee in February, and BJU will enter the exploratory year of membership September 1, 2018. One of the requirements for D3 membership was additional sport offerings in the spring, making baseball and softball natural fits.
“I’m proud of our athletics department as they expand into baseball and softball,” BJU President Steve Pettit said. “These two sports allow us to further expand our mission and provide another outlet for our student-athletes to compete and use sports as a platform for ministry.”
A nationwide search is currently underway to find the head coaches for the baseball and softball programs. Once selected, these coaches will begin recruiting and building the program with a club season to be played in 2019. The first official season for the Bruins softball and baseball teams will be played in 2020. The Bruins have secured two sites in the Greenville community to serve as the host for home games. These locations are in partnership with the Greenville County Parks, Recreation and Tourism.
Vision Sporting Goods is honored to continue to outfit all of the athletes at BJU even as they push forward into new territories.
“Our commitment to continue to provide the highest customer service with the quality outfitting that we receive from adidas is what makes our partnership with Bob Jones University so great,” says Vision Sporting Goods CEO, Dan Bowers. “The university upholds the mission of developing the whole person and that is exactly what our company believes in. It’s a great partnership for all of us.”
Bob Jones University is located in Greenville, South Carolina. The BJU Bruins are seeking membership in NCAA D3 and are currently affiliated with the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) as a division II institution.