Rocky Mount, N.C. - April 9-15 is the inaugural NCAA Division III Week and serves as a time to celebrate the accomplishments of our Battling Bishop student-athletes. Schools and conferences across the nation are joining in a variety of activities to celebrate academic achievements and athletic accomplishments, in addition to campus leadership and involvement in community service. There’s no better way to display our dedication to these Division III principles than to highlight our Department of Athletics’ 4C Philosophy: Character Development, Classroom Success, Community Involvement and Competitive Excellence.
As a Division III member, we understand that athletics are an integral part of the co-curriculum and serve to enhance a student-athlete’s physical well-being, emotional and intellectual growth, and academic success. As NCAA President Mark Emmert stated recently, “Division III is the perfect home for student-athletes who want to succeed at the highest levels in all walks of life.”
Therefore in our mission to DISCOVER | DEVELOP | DEDICATE, the 4C Philosophy is emphasized throughout our athletic programs. Character Development is achieved through a variety of ways, whether it be via our WAAL program (Wesleyan Academy for Athletic Leadership) or through individual team-building exercises throughout the season. Classroom Success is just as important, as evidenced by 59 Battling Bishop athletes earning Academic All-Conference honors last season. This season, we’ve had two athletes (football’s Dwayne Hollis and basketball’s Matt Dougherty) earn Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District accolades.
Community Involvement comes next in our athletics mission and plays a major role in the lives of our Battling Bishops. This academic year alone, our student-athletes have participated in the Department’s annual 9/11 Initiative and P.L.A.Y. (Promoting Literacy Among Youth), the USA South’s Cans Across the Conference and Pennies for a Purpose programs, and the Rocky Mount area’s Stop Hunger Now efforts. Individual teams also participate in their own projects such as Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life and KIX, to name a few.
Finally, Competitive Excellence completes the philosophy and is the ultimate goal for each of our squads. From past accomplishments that include a pair of National Championships for baseball and numerous conference titles across all sports, to the more recent success in men’s tennis that features a 30-match winning streak versus conference opponents… our Bishops are constantly striving for excellence on their respective courts and fields. Just this week, in fact, our women’s tennis team clinched a share of its first-ever regular season championship!
Several Battling Bishops will get to join in the celebration of this inaugural Division III Week at this weekend’s Spring Sports Festival in Burlington. Members of Wesleyan’s teams will join the USA South in welcoming athletes from Special Olympics Alamance County to help open and close the tournaments. The Special Olympians will be at each venue to throw out first pitches, hit ceremonial first tee-shots and stand beside USA South athletes during starting lineups. Additionally, the Special Olympic athletes will help honor newly crowned USA South champions during tournament-concluding award ceremonies.
This serves as one more way Wesleyan continues to pursue its 4C mission. Our coaching staff and student-athletes truly believe this philosophy helps our Battling Bishops become better students, better athletes, better people and better citizens both now and in the future.