DES MOINES, Iowa — For those who captured the title last December it’s been a long eight months, but for those charged with defending it, time flew.
“It was really an easier year recruiting, let’s put it that way,” said head football coach, Mike Woodley. “We had kids contacting us for the first time and showing interest.”
Only six years after Grand View’s football and wrestling programs were created, they’ve already accomplished all that was intended of them.
And that’s more than just national championships.
“We really started early on, about 2000,” said university president, Kent Henning, “making the decision that we could grow the institutional enrolment by adding sports.”
When Henning took over fourteen years ago, the school had just 900 full-time students. Since then, he’s added 17 sports programs and full-time enrollment is now 1,600.
“Football and wrestling together,” explained athletics director, Troy Plummer, “there’s almost 200 kids you’ve added to campus that weren’t here, wouldn’t be here for any other reason if it weren’t for those two sports.”
As an NAIA school, Grand View provides only limited scholarships to its athletes, so which Division One schools are cutting sports to save money, Grand View still profits off them.
“The number of students bringing marginal tuition and room and board revenue more than offsets the sports, the travel, the scholarships and the cost of their education,” Henning said.
The increase in enrollment has also spurred expansions in facilities. This will make the seventh new building since the year 2000. But more than dorms and lecture halls, Henning says sports have helped Grand View grow OFF campus.
“We have about 37 states represented on our campus,” he said, “and most of those states are sending student athletes to us across our athletic programs.”
For now, Henning says Grand View as reached its enrollment capacity. But, there is still room in the trophy case.