University athletics are in a growth spurt

By Jake Holmes

The debut of Carlow men’s and women’s golf squads, along with men’s soccer, is approaching, and the Carlow athletics department is beginning to prepare for fall 2016. The next several months will not only be the beginning of the expansion of the athletics department at Carlow, but the beginning of the university’s expansion in general.
“The addition of sports is increasing enrollment, which is helping follow the Carlow’s strategic plan,” said Athletic Director George Sliman. A part of this strategic plan is to increase enrollment. This plan will be in effect from 2014-2019.
“With seven sports and 11 teams, we’re going to have to implement more support services from the Center for Academic Achievement,” Sliman said.
Carlow has to play most of its away games in a different state, being involved in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.  “We need a formalized process to ensure student athletes are getting the academic support they need” because the students are on the road so often, Sliman said.
While Silman only touched on occupations in the CAA, he did mention the need for student assistance and engagement. Recently, Carlow students have begun hosting a radio talk show on the MSA Sports Network, along with agreeing to terms with Stretch Internet to broadcast games. Almost all hosts and commentators are Carlow students.
“We’re also looking to work with the communications department to open up internship opportunities, along with a sports communication course in the spring, and even student ‘beat writers’ for each sport,” proclaimed Sliman.
Along with these positions, it is easy to get involved as a student worker or work study for Carlow athletics. Student Event Coordinator Matt Doran assembles game crews for each event. Over the past year, Doran said, the game crews have grown by four to five students and “will be expanding for the future sports.”
Many things at Carlow will change during this process. Some of the worries include the amount of space in the resident halls. Despite these concerns, Sliman knows one thing will not change, and that is how Carlow recruits.
“Obviously, it is up to the coach, based on what kind of player they want to bring in, although we do ask that they establish pipelines, look for players involved with successful programs,” he said. “Another thing we look for are players from Catholic high schools in some cases and those who are eligible for Pittsburgh Promise.”
With the addition of golf and men’s Soccer, Sliman indicated that a large strategy in recruiting for those sports specifically will be targeting transfer students. “When starting new sports, we aim to bring in at least a few transfers.” The men’s basketball team brought in quite a few transfers for its inaugural season in 2014-2015, with the likes of Brandon Lioi, Zack Taylor and several others.
Although she was not a member of a brand new Carlow University squad, Lexie Mirenda, a sophomore transfer, excelled on Marcus Pollidore’s women’s soccer team this season. Pollidore will coach the men’s and women’s teams next school year.
“I love Marcus, and his passion for the game,” said Mirenda. “It’s going to be a lot for him. He’s going to be busy. Coaching men and coaching women are two completely different elements.”
Mirenda, a goalkeeper, is excited for the arrival of men’s soccer, for reasons other than spectating. “I’m excited to see a guy’s team. They bring a different skill set,” she said. “I’m also excited to scrimmage them; more of a challenge.”
Golf and soccer weren’t the only sports in consideration for this expansion. Sliman indicated that there was great pull for track and field, men’s tennis, and lacrosse — all of which are possibilities for “the near future.”
Sliman finished by saying with “the addition of these teams, one area we need to make sure of, is that there are adequately sized fitness centers along with ‘comparable facilities’ for each team.”

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