Men’s tennis, baseball cuts put on hold, Coaches seek private funds to continue programs

mtennisDespite a plan to end UW-L’s baseball and men’s tennis program because of budget reductions, the two could be back in action next semester. An outpouring of support has delayed finalizing the cuts with the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Association (WIAC).

UW-L administrators had planned to notify the WIAC about the elimination of the two programs, says Chancellor Joe Gow, however, at the request of alumni, parents and friends of the university, they haven’t. Instead, they are giving coaches and donors an opportunity to finance the sports through private funds.

Administrators will wait to contact the WIAC until Sept. 1 — the date baseball and men’s tennis coaches will need contracts — to learn the donors’ intentions for the 2009-10 season, Gow says.mbaseball

Based on last year’s budgets and input from the coaches overseeing them, Gow says, maintaining baseball for the coming 2009-10 season will require $50,000. Continuing men’s tennis for another year will require $40,000. These funds will need to be in hand by Sept. 1, says Gow.

Five years of advance funding is needed to ensure the programs’ longevity for the 2010-15 seasons. Anticipating continually rising costs, several hundred thousand dollars will need to be raised to sustain each program for the 2010-15 seasons by May 1, 2010.

“In the days since we made the very painful announcement that UW-L is no longer able to maintain financial support for baseball and men’s tennis,” Gow says, “Athletic Director Joe Baker and I have been struck by the outpouring of concern we’ve received via e-mail messages, telephone calls and personal conversations. But our current budget crisis gives us no choice but to ask for sacrifices from our athletic department, just as we have asked for sacrifices from every other area of the university. So it is very heartening to see so many members of the UW-L community come forward to offer their very generous support to keep Eagle baseball and men’s tennis alive.”

Gow is personally donating $1,000 to be divided between the baseball and men’s tennis fundraising efforts for 2009-10. “While this is but a small contribution,” Gow says. “I hope it inspires others to think about making similar gifts in support of these extraordinary campaigns.”

To make a donation, contact Pat Stephens at the L Club/UW-L Foundation at 785.8153 or stephens.patr@uwlax.edu and ask about the funds established by Baseball Coach Chris Schwarz and Men’s Tennis Coach Bill Hehli.

For more on men’s tennis, visit www.uwlax.edu/ATHLETICS/mtennis/.

For more on baseball, visit www.uwlax.edu/Athletics/MBaseball/.

See also: “UW-L tennis, baseball may survive with donations,” La Crosse Tribune, June 11.
Coaches and potential donors are trying to determine whether the sports can feasibly continue entirely through private funding for another year and into the future, said UW-L Chancellor Joe Gow. Full story: www.lacrossetribune.com/articles/2009/06/11/news/02uwl.txt.