Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Valpo Adds Golf and Bowling to Intercollegiate Athletic Program
Head bowling coach Stephen Anthony, director of athletics Mark LaBarbera, and head golf coach Mike Higdon at Thursday's news conference. (Ray Acevedo)
Head bowling coach Stephen Anthony, director of athletics Mark LaBarbera, and head golf coach Mike Higdon at Thursday's news conference. (Ray Acevedo)
Mark LaBarbera made the announcement. (Ray Acevedo)
Mark LaBarbera made the announcement. (Ray Acevedo)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Valparaiso University is adding three sports to its intercollegiate athletics program beginning next fall.

At a news conference held on campus this afternoon, Director of Athletics Mark LaBarbera announced that men’s and women’s golf and women’s bowling will be added to the lineup of NCAA-affiliated programs.

LaBarbera said that all three teams would be eligible for competition in NCAA championships and the men’s and women’s golf teams would begin competition in the Horizon League beginning next spring.

The golf teams will compete in NCAA Division I.  Women’s bowling, which has crowned an NCAA national champion since 2004, is offered in a single division.  All three sports will offer scholarships within NCAA guidelines.

Home course for the golf teams will be The Course at Aberdeen and home for the bowling team will be Inman’s Recreation Center, both in Valparaiso.

 “The decision to add these three teams to our intercollegiate athletics program was driven largely by student interest,” LaBarbera said.  “I regularly receive inquiries from prospective student-athletes about golf and bowling, and interest has been expressed by students currently enrolled as well.”

Mike Higdon, director of golf at Aberdeen, will head the golf program and Stephen Anthony, associate director of athletics for business services, will coach the women’s bowling team.

Two of the sports actually are being revived after an absence of many years.  Men’s golf was an intercollegiate sport from 1934 through 1992 and there was a men’s bowling team that competed in intercollegiate events from 1948 to 1963.

The men’s golf team previously competed in the Indiana Collegiate Conference and the Heartland College Conference, winning conference championships in 1951, 1953 and 1982.  The Crusaders were a founding member of the Midwest Intercollegiate Bowling Conference and won conference titles in 1953 and 1956.

Although Valpo has not previously fielded a women’s golf team Patti Shook Boice, a 1965 graduate, won the individual title at the women’s National Collegiate Golf Tournament in 1964.  Regarded for several years as one of the top women amateurs in the nation, she played in 10 United States amateur championships.

When LaBarbera told Boice of plans to field a women’s team on campus, she said she looks forward to following the team.  “I’m thrilled that fellow talented golfers will be able to follow their sport to Valparaiso and join the Valpo family—a community founded on Christian principles that we all hold dear to our heart,” said the Spring Lake, Mich., resident.

LaBarbera said he expects the Crusaders to field competitive teams in all three sports in their first seasons.

 “There are many outstanding young golfers in the Valparaiso region and throughout the Midwest who are interested in competing in golf on the college level,” he said.  “Women’s bowling is rapidly growing in popularity and we have some of the best high school bowlers in Indiana right in our backyard, so we should be an attractive option for many of them as they consider their college choices.”

LaBarbera said the decision to add three sports to the athletics program was made easier by the cooperation of officials at the Course at Aberdeen and Inman’s.

 “We are thrilled to be hosting the golf teams at The Course at Aberdeen,” said Barb Young, president of the 18-hole links-style public course.  “I think golf is a perfect fit for a school like Valpo.  We are proud to have Mike Higdon, our director of golf, running the program and we look forward to celebrating Valparaiso’s first Horizon League golf championship.”

 “Within the past decade, Inman’s has assisted in developing local high school bowling programs,” said Mike Peuquet, President of Inman’s.  “Since then, the high school program has accumulated enough interest to become a recognized statewide club sport.  Inman’s is proud to be working with Valparaiso University in developing its NCAA women’s bowling program and proud to have the Crusaders bowling in our facility and to help support the program.  This is a great opportunity for the local bowling club members to further their academics and passion for the sport of bowling.”

W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
Softball Cleveland State 6 8 inn.
Apr 13 Valpo 7
W Tennis Valpo 1 Rochester, Mich.
Apr 13 Oakland 6
M Tennis Valpo 1 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 13 #12 Notre Dame 6
W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
W Tennis Youngstown State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 0
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 2nd/3 (191)
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 3rd/5 (82)
W Tennis Cleveland State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 0
Softball Oakland 1 VU Softball Field
Apr 19 Valpo 2
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19 Milwaukee 5
Softball Oakland 4 8 inn.
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Tennis Cleveland State 5 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20 12th/15 (314)
Baseball Kalamazoo 3 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21 Valpo 10
Baseball Ohio Northern 2 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22 Valpo 1
Softball Valpo 3 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 1
Softball Valpo 5 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 4
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. #21/21 Notre Dame
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 2:00 p.m. UIC
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Chicago State Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Indiana (resumption of suspended game)
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 4:00 p.m. Indiana
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 2, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 3, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 1:00 p.m. Green Bay
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 3:00 p.m. Green Bay