WINCHESTER — Umpqua Community College has given the go-ahead to adding three new sports beginning in the fall of 2017.
Craig Jackson, who took over as UCC’s athletic director in August, confirmed Thursday night that men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s wrestling and men’s and women’s obstacle course racing have been approved.
UCC currently fields just three athletic teams — volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball. The school once offered an assortment of sports, including baseball (eliminated in 1985 despite being UCC’s most successful program at the time), cross country and track and field (cut in 1996).
Men’s wrestling was among its sports until the early 1980s.
“We’re excited that we’re going to add six new teams to our existing three teams in three different sports,” Jackson said during the UCC men’s basketball game against Southwestern Oregon. “We’re looking forward to what the future holds for UCC athletics.
“It allows us to serve Douglas County better. It allows some kids who may not get the opportunity to stay home and play for their local community college to do so in the future.”
Jackson noted the decision to add cross country and wrestling doesn’t involve facilities or facility improvements.
“With those two sports, you have a high participation rate in Douglas County and surrounding (high) schools,” he said. “There’s a lot of success in those programs as well, so those two were no-brainers.
“With obstacle course racing, we’re trying to find a niche where we can draw kids from Douglas County and outside the county,” Jackson added. “It will give them the opportunity to participate in something that’s getting really big across the country, and also fits into our outdoor rec program really well.”
Jackson anticipates having 80-85 new athletes on campus in the fall.
“It’s a significantly different feel athletically when you’re over 100 student-athletes,” he said.
Jackson said the plan is to post the coaching positions as soon as possible.