Southeastern Baptist College is adding baseball in 2021 and women’s volleyball in 2022 to its athletic program.
The move comes as multiple colleges and universities across the country are eliminating athletic programs due to shortfalls in funding due to COVID-19.
"We are actively looking for a baseball coach as of today," said Athletic Director and Head of Recruiting Services Buddy Duke. "And we're looking for those athletes who may not have gotten an offer but still love to compete and want to play at the next level."
Home games will be played on local fields such as Wooten-Legion, Hosey Field, and Boston Park - home of the BlackCats Semi-Pro baseball team.
"I've worked with Elvin [Ulmer]," said Duke. "I went to school with Alvin, and he does a great job with the athletic fields here in Jones County. He would take care of all of that, and we would rent the field for the season and coordinated with those other schools who play on those fields."
The addition of baseball and volleyball will help the college grow its enrollment numbers, which now stands at 52.
“Around 30 of them are athletes,” said Duke. “We want to be the hometown school. We're trying to grow some other things too and make our college more attractive.”
Southeastern Baptist College competes in the NCCAA (National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association) already in men’s and women’s basketball and golf.
"Our region opponents are located in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina," Duke added. "Travel expenses are a big issue, so that's why our non-region schedule includes as many local colleges as we can as to cut down on the travel expenses."
Such colleges include Mississippi College, Jackson State, Millsaps, Belhaven, William Carey, and several out of the Mobile area.
Duke said the college is adding a cheer squad and also looking to compete in cross-country events.
"We've got five or six girls coming on board who will be a part of our cheer squad," Duke noted. "We've also had a young man that wants to run cross-country. So we're looking into that right now."
Southeastern Baptist College, traditionally a bible college, is focused on recruiting young men and women who fit their traditional values.
“There are young men and women out there that that still have that desire to compete and want to get a Christian education,” said Duke. “This gives them that opportunity.”
The same goes for the coaches Southeastern Baptist College plans to hire and have already hired.
“The first thing we do is go find coaches with the same kind of Christian attitudes that we're looking for,” added Duke. “Then we cut them loose and let them recruit those type of athletes that we’re looking for.”
Funding for the college comes from tuition as well as money donated by The Mississippi Baptist Missionary Association.