By GRACE WINFIELD
The University of Mary Washington has recently obtained two new vehicles. Both vehicles have been given to the UMW Athletics department in hopes to expand and simplify the recruiting process for potential players.
The Director of Athletics, Ken Tyler, says that the cars’ primary use is to support coaches, of all teams, at UMW in their recruiting travel. Coaches travel frequently to recruit prospective student-athletes all throughout the year; however, it is a difficult task to compete with other university’s when the responsibility and expenses of transportation lie on the coaches themselves.
“Having a department vehicle means that coaches aren’t piling up miles on their own vehicles or spending money on rental vehicles,” said the Director of Athletics, Ken Tyler. “These cars will save us money and allow our coaches to travel in a more efficient and effective manner.”
There are currently only the two vehicles for approximately 40 head and assistant coaches, according to Tyler, so everyone must share and rotate. This is common practice, and not unlike how other university vehicles are utilized by UMW Admissions or Advancement staff.
The two cars are a part of a Corporate Partnership with Sheehy Toyota; they provide the vehicles and the funds to pay the lease. Corporate partnerships with local car dealers are very common in NCAA athletics and amongst university teams. Universities, such as Virginia Tech and Virginia Commonwealth University, all participate in corporate partnerships that can be located on each school’s website.
“As part of our partnership, we agreed to have the vehicles wrapped and branded in a way to emphasize Sheehy, UMW and UMW Athletics,” said Tyler. The two cars serve as “traveling billboards,” highlighting not only UMW, but UMW Athletics.
Madison McLean, a sophomore biology major on the women’s golf team, feels that the Athletic Department would benefit more with vehicles for a different purpose, the transportation of athletes.
“Personally, I wish the money would have gone towards larger vans for the athletes to travel in instead of recruitment vehicles,” said McLean. “As an athlete that travels quite a long way for matches, the vans we have now are a little crammed with the players’ gear and luggage so larger vans would be a little more beneficial, in my opinion.”
With the two new vehicles, the Athletic department looks forward to a more reasonable and reliable means of travel for their coaches.
“However, since they have already signed the vehicles, I guess the cars will be able to help with recruitment in terms of transportation to and from the recruit,” said McLean. “I’m not sure how much a new car will help in the recruit’s decision to commit to Mary Washington, but if it does then that’s great for whichever team they commit to play on.”