Davis & Elkins moving on after the WVC
The grouping of "like-minded institutions" from the West Virginia Conference to help create the Mountain East Conference left some state colleges behind.
At least one of them, Davis & Elkins, is more interested in looking ahead.
So far, it's business as usual for D&E, which joins Alderson Broaddus, Ohio Valley University and former WVC member Salem International, in making its way to the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.
The NCAA Division II Indianapolis-based GMAC features 10 schools in five states, with four from West Virginia. The conference includes Cedarville University (Cedarville, Ohio), Central State University (Wilberforce, Ohio), Georgetown College (Georgetown, Ky.), Kentucky Wesleyan College (Owensboro, Ky.), Trevecca Nazarene University (Nashville, Tenn.) and Ursuline College (Pepper Pike, Ohio). Ursuline is a women's college and does not field men's sports.
For Davis & Elkins' part, Dr. Michael Mihalyo said his institution is focused on the future. The university has scheduled an alumni gathering at Appalachian Power Park for the July 20 game against Kannapolis.
"The WVIAC had a longstanding tradition in West Virginia and you're sad to see things dissolve," he said. "But, we're focused on the like-mindedness of the institutions, not negating the possibility in the future some competition with the schools that we have played for a long time."
Reportedly, the issue with the MEC not including Alderson Broaddus, Bluefield, Davis & Elkins and Ohio Valley was those schools not fielding a football team.
Alderson Broaddus announced its intentions to add football before the formation of the MEC, and Wheeling Jesuit - which initially didn't indicate a desire to add football at the time of the creation of the new league - was invited to join.
"We did have an invitation from the Great Midwest Athletic Conference and liked what they tried to accomplish. We did what we needed to do to complete the season and move on," Mihalyo said.
Plans for the GMAC were discussed in 2011 and included Urbana and the University of Virginia's College at Wise - both of which have since left the league to join the MEC.
Early last year, the NCAA accepted the GMAC as the 24th NCAA Division II conference.
The conference includes just two private schools - Central State and Georgetown College - with a wide range of enrollment figures from the low of approximately 500 at Ohio Valley to the high of more than 3,200 at Georgetown.
Davis & Elkins is at around 750 students, a number that could increase with the addition of men's and women's lacrosse to its list of sports offered.
The soccer field is getting turf and will be lined to accommodate lacrosse.
"We're hopeful to begin a search for a lacrosse coach in the near future and hopefully be able to start with a club team and move to an NCAA team," Mihalyo said.
Davis & Elkins offers basketball, tennis, soccer, swimming and cross country for men and women, as well as golf and baseball for men and softball and volleyball for women.
The Senators, as well as Alderson Broaddus, Bluefield and Ohio Valley aren't included as part of the non-conference schedule of MEC teams, but Mihalyo said that could change.
"Not anything is off the table by any stretch," he said. "Our focus really went to the GMAC and what could be a really positive experience. That really has been our primary concern all along. We're just excited about the way things are shaping up for our teams, coaches and student athletes."
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THE MOUNTAIN East has hired former Fairmont State University director of athletic media relations Adam Zundell as its director of communications for the league.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4837.