Wayland Baptist, a Top NAIA Program, to Axe Men’s & Women’s Swimming and Diving

Wayland Baptist University, situated in Plainview, Texas, will eliminate their men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams after only four seasons. The Pioneers announced the addition of swimming to the WBU athletic lineup in January of 2013 and the men’s and women’s teams launched with the 2013-14 school year.

SwimSwam spoke with head coach Alyson Hannan who learned about the decision four minutes before the athletes received an email from Rick Cooper, Director of Athletics, this afternoon. Coach Hannon was told the decision was made based on “facility and budgetary issues.” The team trains at the Plainview YMCA, and for the last four years its travel and scholarship budgets have been whittled away every year.

The email from the Athletic Director to the team read as follows:

From: Rick Cooper
Date: Fri, Jun 16, 2017 at 12:54 PM
Subject: WBU Swim and Dive Program
To: Rick Cooper
Cc: Alyson Hannan

This communication is to let you know that after much examination, deliberation and prayer with Athletic and University Administration, we are making the difficult decision to immediately discontinue our Swimming and Diving program.

We will not field a team or compete in Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Dive.

This has been a very difficult decision, but one we believe is both necessary and best at this point in time.

As a former student athlete, and the father of two college student athletes, I can empathize with how stressful this is for the families and members of our Swim and Dive team.

Please be aware that the University is honoring the athletic scholarship for all impacted student athletes who want to continue their studies at Wayland Baptist University for the 17-18 academic year, and who remain eligible in accordance with University and Athletic department policies. In fact, while we know it is unlikely, we hope that all affected student athletes will continue their education as Wayland Baptist University students.

We will give affected student athletes permission to contact any other schools for purposes of transfer, and we will grant full releases to any affected student athlete who wishes to transfer and pursue other intercollegiate athletic opportunities.

Members of the Athletic and Admissions administration and staff are available to discuss scholarship and transfer information as well as provide academic advisement.

I will be attempting to contact each member of the 17-18 team by telephone, but wanted to get this information out to you so you can begin planning accordingly.

Please do not hesitate to call me with any questions at the number listed below, and please leave your name and a phone number in the event I am not able to take the call at that time.

Rick Cooper
Director of Athletics
Wayland Baptist University

In her short time at the helm, Coach Hannan has built a nationally-recognized program in the NAIA, drawing swimmers from California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Washington, Arkansas, and of course Texas, as well as from Barbados, Colombia, Trinidad & Tobago, Germany, Venezuela, and Croatia. She increased the size of the team from 10 men and 7 women in 2013-14 to a combined roster of 29 in 2016-17. She has developed 7 All-Americans (All-American honors are only awarded to top-3 finishers in each individual event at NAIA Nationals) and was recognized by the American Swimming Coaches Association as Coach of Excellence three times.

Wayland Baptist’s four season culminated in four trips to the NAIA National Championships, with four top-10 finishes for the men and four top-20 finishes for the women.

NAIA Nationals Men’s team Women’s team
2017 6th 19th
2016 8th 10th
2015 8th 11th
2014 8th 16th

The elimination of swimming and diving at Wayland Baptist leaves the state of Texas with just 10 men’s and 13 women’s collegiate swimming and diving programs.

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snarky
4 years ago

Well that’s not vert Christian.

2Fat4Speed
Reply to  snarky
4 years ago

No, no, no. Didn’t you read that he prayed about it! Don’t blame Rick, Jesus said it was OK…

Swimfan
4 years ago

This saddens me that we have lost another program to budgets, with no consideration of the amount if tuition Each swimmer brings in.

Educated
Reply to  Swimfan
4 years ago

The athletes don’t bring in any tuition, they come to Wayland on full scholarships.

I_Said_It
Reply to  Educated
4 years ago

Dumbest statement yet.

Shocked at comment
Reply to  Educated
4 years ago

That is the most uneducated comment made.

Mikeh
4 years ago

Ugh this is terrible.

Coach John
4 years ago

this is becoming all too common….. gut renching for the Student-Athletes to read that I imagine

Beau
4 years ago

The program wasn’t very good there are 14 year olds on my club team as fast as them, I think it’s very unfortunate that they’re cutting the program but at the same time I don’t think they raked in any money from the program.

A Wayland mom
Reply to  Beau
4 years ago

You have no clue what you are talking about. Coach Alyson drove all over Texas building this team with swimmers no one wanted and got them to naia in her first season. She did this all by herself with no assistant or help She was able to offer scholarships to swimmers who were turned away and gave them an opportunity to swim and get a degree
Sometimes it’s not about the level of swimming to start out but the opportunity and to develop a team from scratch and grow it
And watch them achieve goals and be part of a team
This team meant a lot to coach Alyson But when you have no support financially to… Read more »

I_Said_It
Reply to  Beau
4 years ago

Private school with limited scholarships. You’re right they weren’t making any money of them. And good for,your faster 14 year olds. What about the 18 year old mediocre swimmer that wants to continue swimming at a non D1 level because they love the sport. Ignorant statements like yours have no place in the sport.

Curious
Reply to  I_Said_It
4 years ago

Any idea how many scholarships they were working with. Roster shows several internationals. I know that doesn’t necessarily mean big money but usually does.

I_Said_It
Reply to  Curious
4 years ago

Less than half of the NAIA maximum based on conversations I’ve had with their staff.

Swimfan
4 years ago

Rick Cooper

Athletics Director
806-291-3801
[email protected]

Angry Mom
4 years ago

My child swam for Alyson on that team. Alyson KILLED the swimming program all on her own. She didn’t build anything. Good swimmers came and she broke them apart.

But really...
Reply to  Angry Mom
4 years ago

She is a fantastic coach… you’re just an angry mom who’s child couldn’t hack it.

Angry Mom
Reply to  But really...
4 years ago

Actually mine was the one that got those women’s standings up into the 10th and 11th finishes for the 2 years she swam. Alyson is just not a good coach. Many swimmers transferred out after this past season BEFORE this was announced, rather than swim for her again.

Arbitrary Pioneer
Reply to  Angry Mom
4 years ago

I swam for that team too up until now. I think Coach did a really good job for us but most importantly it was the athletics department deciding to kill the program behind her back even though we as swimmers delivered

Taa
Reply to  Angry Mom
4 years ago

A combined roster of 29 after 4 years isn’t very impressive

Swimmer
Reply to  Taa
4 years ago

We swan in a 6 lane pool with limited pool time

I_Said_It
Reply to  Taa
4 years ago

No facility on campus, limited practice time and limited aid. Not impressive at all.

Rebecca Kinworthy
4 years ago

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! But you have the greatest coach in the world!!!!!!

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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