From Williams Baptist College
The athletic department at Williams Baptist College is expanding its coaching staff, allowing the softball and volleyball teams to each have their own head coach. Eric Newell, who has been coaching both sports, will remain the head coach of the nationally ranked softball Eagles, and the college will hire a new coach for volleyball.
"This is a big step forward for Williams athletics," said WBC Athletic Director Jeff Rider. "Coach Newell has been remarkably successful in both softball and volleyball, but coaching two sports at the collegiate level is very demanding. This move allows him to focus on softball, and it gives the volleyball team a coach who can concentrate on their program."
Newell voiced excitement, as well as appreciation to WBC, for the move. "I think it shows a genuine commitment to the players of both sports. One head coach for volleyball and one head coach for softball will mean greater year-round attention to detail for both sports," he said.
Newell, who is in his seventh year at WBC, has built both teams into winning programs. The Lady Eagles softball team is currently 11-1 on the season and ranked number 14 in the NAIA, and the volleyball squad ended its season in the fall with a 23-12 mark.
But Newell said leading two sports takes its toll on a coach. "When a coach is in season it is really hard on the family. In my case for the past seven years, since I have been coaching two sports, it has been doubled. There really is not an off-season in coaching," he said.
He noted it also affects both teams. "During volleyball season the amount of time that I was able to spend with the softball team was extremely limited, and during softball season the amount of time that I was able to spend with the volleyball team was extremely limited. I am excited for our players that our college has made a commitment to make this happen for both sports," Newell said.
However, the coach noted that it is still difficult to leave the volleyball team he has coached since 2006.
"I have observed in the current off-season a desire and dedication to team and hard work that eclipses all other teams before them. The 2013 team will be loaded with returning talent and we have nearly completed a very good recruiting class. The bright future that is returning and the exciting recruits that we have signed makes this extra difficult to pull away from," he said.
Rider said the search is now underway for WBC's next volleyball coach. "We are committed to finding a coach who can build on the great foundation Coach Newell leaves our volleyball program," the athletic director said. "Volleyball is a very important sport to our college and to our fans, and this move gives us the opportunity to move the program even further ahead."
Williams is a four-year, liberal arts college at Walnut Ridge. The Eagles compete in the American Midwest Conference of the NAIA.