Xavier athletics will return for 2006-07 school year
For immediate release . . . April 2006
NEW ORLEANS — The squeaky sound of sneakers on the basketball court, the ping of the tennis ball as it hits the racquet, and the rush of wind generated by long distance runners eating up the miles — all silenced by Katrina last August — will soon resonate on the campus once again.
President Norman Francis has announced that Xavier University of Louisiana's storied intercollegiate sports program — cancelled for 2005-06 after the University's academic schedule was interrupted and most of its facilities were heavily damaged by flood waters — has been reinstated for the 2006-07 school year.
"It was always our intention to bring back the athletics program as soon as it was feasible," said Francis. "We are pleased that the University has progressed far enough in our recovery to be able to bring back this staple of campus life."
"Classrooms and learning are not all of what we do," he added. "What goes on outside the classroom is so important to the development of individuals."
According to Calvin Tregre, senior vice president for administration and chair of the University's Athletics Committee, six of Xavier's seven established, pre-Katrina sports programs will be brought back: men's and women's basketball, tennis and cross country. The newest addition to the athletic program, women's volleyball, was suspended indefinitely.
The head coaches for the reinstated programs — Dannton Jackson (men's basketball), Bo Browder (women's basketball), Alan Green (tennis) and Joseph Moses Jr. (cross country) — and assistant coach Darrilyn Broussard (women's basketball) will return. All have been serving the University in other capacities during the interim.
While it is uncertain how many of the student-athletes — all of whom are still on scholarship — would return for the 2006-07 season, the coaches have expressed confidence the teams would remain largely intact except for those seniors due to graduate in 2006.
Dennis Cousin will also return as athletics director.
The decision was made to suspend the athletic program last October after floodwaters had buckled the University's brand new wooden gym floor and caused severe damage to all of its locker rooms and offices. The University itself did not reopen its doors until January 2006.
Pending the acquisition of a new permanent floor, the University has secured use of a portable wooden floor loaned to it by Jackson State University. Locker rooms and offices in the gym have been gutted and are undergoing repair.
Cross country, whose season officially begins in late summer, will lead the Univerity's return to intercollegiate competition. Tregre said Moses has been involved in training and strength conditioning with individual team members — as well as other University students — throughout the interim, and he anticipates Xavier will field a competitive team upon its return.
Xavier is a member of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
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