EAU CLAIRE, Wis.- The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has announced the launch of a plan for investing in its future to ensure student success and bring talent to the region for years to come. Increasing the number of student participants in athletics aligns with UW-Eau Claire's strategy to expand its recruitment to areas beyond Wisconsin.
The expansion of UW-Eau Claire's athletics teams will include the reinstatement of men's baseball (which was discontinued in 1995) and the addition of women's lacrosse in the spring 2021 season, as well as the addition of men's soccer in the fall 2021 season.
The hiring process for coaches will begin immediately. Alumni and friends of the baseball program are actively raising funds to support facilities and operations, said UW-Eau Claire Athletics Director Dan Schumacher.
With a three-year average second-year retention rate of nearly 90% among Blugold student-athletes, growing UW-Eau Claire's array of athletics programs will be an important piece of the university's overall enrollment goals, Schumacher said.
"Our student-athletes stay and complete their degrees due to strong connections they make with their teammates and coaches, as well as this university's outstanding faculty and staff. I truly believe that retention creates winners both in the classroom and on the field."
The addition of the three sports will increase the number of Blugold athletics teams to 25, including 12 men's teams and 13 women's teams. The new teams are expected to bring in 94 additional student-athletes (42 for baseball, 24 for women's lacrosse and 28 for men's soccer) and generate revenues beyond their costs of operation that will be reallocated to academic instruction.
"Blugold athletics is excited to play a role in UW-Eau Claire's enrollment initiative," Schumacher said. "It is a great compliment to the department and especially the great work of our coaches and student-athletes in support of retention and graduation rates. These additions to our athletics program array will not only strengthen enrollment but also serve to benefit our entire student body."