Midway University in Midway, Kentucky, located in the center of the state between Frankford and Lexington, has announced the addition of men’s and women’s swimming teams beginning in the 2020-2021 season. The school, a private Christian liberal arts school with an undergraduate of 1,456 students, joins a stream of NAIA schools that are adding swimming & diving programs as part of efforts to boost enrollment.
The school has also announced the hiring of Maria Steakley as the program’s first-ever head coach. “We’re excited to hire Maria to lead our new swimming programs,” said Vice President for Admissions and Athletics Rusty Kennedy. “Her knowledge coupled with her passion and enthusiasm to start a new program really impressed me. I look forward to watching Midway swimming grow and compete in the future.”
Steakley comes to the program after working as an assistant coach at nearby University of the Cumberlands, another NAIA school, abeit a much larger one with over 10,000 undergraduates. She was part of a staff that led the Cumberlands’ women’s team to an 8th-straight Mid-South Conference Championship.
During her time as an assistant coach she has assisted in recruiting, workout development and developing a strength program.
In her time with the Patriots, Steakley helped lead the women’s program to their eighth straight Mid-South Conference Championship, while the men’s program also took home the MSC Championship. Both programs finished inside the top five at the NAIA National Championship taking third and fifth, respectively.
While assisting at Cumberlands, Steakley also was an assistant for the Kentucky Communities Economic Opportunity Council (KCEOC) Aquatic Club. She also has experience as a swim lessons instructor at the Corbin Wellness Center.
Steakley also swam for Cumberlands for 3 years, including earning NAIA All-America honors.
Midway plans to join the Mid-South Conference, where Cumberlands is already a power. While most of Midway’s sports are members of the River States Conference, swimming will join bowling, men’s volleyball, and wrestling as Mid-South members.
The men’s and women’s swimming programs will be the school’s 26th and 27th scholarship athletics programs. In addition to the 24 offered presently, the school is also launching an eSports team.