CENTRAL—Warrior athletes will soon be sporting a new look in a new conference.
Southern Wesleyan University officials reviled the athletic program’s new logo on Wednesday, promising new opportunities for the future as well.
“This is the first step,” Athletic Director Chris Williams said. “This will go into our NCAA application. This really kicks off the first part of our marketing and branding initiative that we need to do for the NCAA.”
Currently an NAIA school, SWU hopes to join NCAA Division II in July. The new logo symbolizes progression, according to Williams.
“For the NCAA, we had to get away from the Native American symbolism,” Williams said. “As we started to make that transition we really wanted to capture our past while focusing on the new thoughts of campus pushing forward.”
Williams said the project was a joint effort.
“This project has been a collaboration of many different people across the athletic program,” Williams said. “The logo draws us back to our past, but also points us in a new direction. It points us in a strong, unified, one-body direction.”
“Early on we got our whole community involved with gathering information,” Williams continued. “We had alumni groups and internal groups that looked at our past, looked at a survey, took information from our students and really wanted everybody to feel like they were part of the process.”
Williams said the logo process has taken over a year, and he is happy to finally reveal the finished product. Officials say this is just another stride in the university’s growth
“We gained conference membership with Conference Carolinas in December. That was a huge hurdle,” Williams said. “A year ago, the board of trustees voted unanimously for us to make this move. We continue to work hard and pray that, in July, the NCAA will give us the thumbs up.”
This marks the first logo change since athletics began at the university in 1970. Southern Wesleyan currently has around 160 total athletes that will all soon sport a Conference Carolinas logo on their jerseys.
“Joining Conference Carolinas cuts our travel in half,” Williams said. “It will also help recruiting. For whatever reason it brings a sense of credibility because people know the NCAA brand.
Moving forward, plans are underway for a new basketball facility and four new sports teams.
“A new basketball arena is still probably a few years down the road,” Williams said. We’ve begun drawings and schematics for it. We currently have 11 sports and we will add four more this fall (men’s and women’s tennis and men’s and women’s track and field).”
The university will also add women’s lacrosse soon.
“We wanted to see how we could help Conference Carolinas grow,” Williams said. “Adding these sports helps bolster their championships. That’s why we want these new sports. Not just for us, but to help our new conference as well.”
Williams said the new logo will soon be available for purchase at the university.
“You will be able to buy this new logo in the bookstore and online starting, probably, in July and August,” he said.