FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (11/1/99)
Contact: Centenary News Service, 318-869-5120
SHREVEPORT, LA - Centenary College President Kenneth Schwab has appointed longtime professor Dr. David Bedard as the college's new director of athletics to replace Russ Sharp, whose departure was announced today (Monday, Nov. 1, 1999).
Sharp, who has served at Centenary since August 1994, has accepted a position at West Virginia University where he will be assistant athletic director for administration and finance, Schwab said.
Bedard is currently professor of health and exercise science, and has been a Centenary faculty member for more than 18 years. He is a three-time All-American gymnast and former gymnastics coach for Northwestern State University. He holds the the B.S. and M.Ed. degrees from Northwestern State University (1968 and 1972) and the doctorate in college teaching of health and physical education from Texas A & M University-Commerce (1981).
At Centenary, Sharp is credited with leading a department which has undergone an extensive overhaul. The department focused on gender equity -- which will be achieved during the current academic year -- and on academic excellence and adding a strong group of new coaches, as well as a defined administrative structure.
During Sharp's tenure, women's golf and women's basketball were added, as was a new softball complex, renovated soccer complex and improved baseball facility. An academic support program for student athletes, a strong rules compliance program and several new coaching positions were also added.
"We appreciate Russ Sharp's leadership these past five years," Schwab said. "He has led our program through some challenging times with strength and determination, and we wish him well in his new post."
Schwab cited Bedard's long association with the college and his involvement with its athletic program as strengths he brings to the athletic directorship. Bedard recently chaired the Steering Committee for NCAA Athletics Certification, as well as the Fiscal Integrity and Academic Integrity subcommittees. "This is a critical moment in our athletic program's history as we seek affiliation with a new conference, and I know that Dr. Bedard will lead us through and beyond this important step," Schwab said.
Sharp said that while he is excited about the opportunity at West Virginia University, he will miss the people associated with the Centenary program. "I have always said that the best thing about our program is the quality of our student-athletes and I stand by that. I am also proud of our hard-working coaches and the tremendous support of our fans and donors," he said. "I'd also like to thank Dr. Schwab for his support of me personally and professionally. The department is in good hands. I know that David will be able to move our program to the next level and hopefully to a Division I conference alliance."
In accepting the post, Bedard said, "I am very happy to accept the position of director of athletics at an NCAA Division I institution. It will be a significant challenge, but I will do the very best job that I can for Centenary College."