Huntingdon College football? At first glance it sounds preposterous. A small, highly regarded liberal arts school which for many years only dabbled in intercollegiate sports is now in the process of developing a Division III that will include six men's and five women sports.
Football is by far the most ambitious undertaking. The school plans to begin recruiting immediately, fielding the first team with a limited schedule in 2003.
Athletic Director, Dr. Duane Trogdon, who has coached football, will be the head coach. He says Huntingdon will recruit the intelligent student athlete who is academically motivated, and who has a passion for football.
There are no athletic scholarships in Division III, so players will have to earn other scholarships. Division III football programs throughout the country have been very creative in finding ways to fund the education of football players and Trogden said on a radio call-in show Wednesday morning that Huntingdon will make sure it can compete at the top level of Division III football.
Finding opponents to play will take some doing. There is a Division III football program at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa and near Knoxville, TN at Maryville College. Most Division III football programs are north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Trogden says the team will have to travel probably to Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and maybe Texas especially at the beginning of the program. Huntingdon hopes to field a team of 45-50 players the first year and increase to 75-80 by 2006.
The Hawks football team will practice and play on the old Cloverdale Junior High School field, which is being acquired and renovated and will be a part of the Huntingdon College campus. President Wanda Bigham says Huntingdon expects to close on the property in August.