LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – The Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference has formally announced the addition of the University of the Ozarks as an affiliate member in the sports of men's and women's swimming effective the 2016-17 academic year.
The SCAC Board of Directors, by a unanimous vote, extended the invitation to the University of the Ozarks at the group's winter meeting last month.
In December the University of the Ozarks announced the addition of men's and women's swimming to its NCAA Division III intercollegiate programs - giving the institution 17 varsity sports.
In all of its other intercollegiate sports, Ozarks competes as a member of the American Southwest Conference. The ASC does not sponsor men's and women's swimming and diving.
"We are pleased to have the University of the Ozarks men's and women's swimming programs join the conference," said SCAC Commissioner Dwayne Hanberry. "It would be my hope that joining an established swimming conference will be beneficial to building and growing a successful program. I know the SCAC will benefit from this relationship."
"We are excited about our partnership with the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference," said University of Ozarks Athletics Director Jimmy Clark. "Being affiliated with the SCAC is definitely a benefit for us. We have the opportunity to go to its conference championship and the footprint of the league is very similar to the American Southwest Conference. The majority of the schools are in Texas. The SCAC also adds a couple of schools that are closer in proximity."
David DeGeus has been hired to coach both the new teams, which will begin competing in 2016-2017.
DeGeus, who swam at University of Nevada-Las Vegas and Henderson State University (HSU), has over 15 years of coaching experience at the collegiate, High School, USA Club Swimming, US Masters and youth summer league levels. Prior to Ozarks, DeGeus was an undergraduate assistant coach at HSU and has been the head coach of Clarksville's branch of the Central Arkansas Swim Club (CASC) racers since 2011. He also served as the assistant coach of the CASC Racers in North Little Rock from 2009-2011 and as a volunteer coach at North Little High School for two years.
"This is a great opportunity to be a part of the process of building a collegiate swim program," said DeGeus at the time of his hiring. "I hope that our program demonstrates the ideal student-athlete. Swimmers in general are strong students and very dedicated. I want student-athletes who fit the campus as a whole and the team. I want them committed academically."
The SCAC, which has sponsored men's and women's swimming and diving since 1999, has produced six national individual champions (including five this decade) and 125+ All-Americans between the two sports.
Five SCAC student-athletes will be competiting at next week's NCAA Division III national championships in Greensboro, N.C.
The SCAC currently has five core members who sponsor men's and women's swimming and diving: Austin College, Centenary College of Louisiana, Colorado College, Southwestern University and Trinity University, plus fellow American Southwest Conference member, McMurry University, who joined the SCAC as an affiliate member prior to the 2014-15 academic year.
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