Wesleyan's Hart talks of school's athletic yearDakota Wesleyan University Athletic Director Curt Hart said recruiting classes are on the rise and some programs are looking at utilizing junior varsity programs.
By: Kevin Pottebaum, The Daily Republic
Dakota Wesleyan University Athletic Director Curt Hart said recruiting classes are on the rise and some programs are looking at utilizing junior varsity programs.
Hart recently discussed the university’s athletic season in an interview with The Daily Republic and said he’s been impressed with the school’s coaches and their recruiting.
“Our basketball teams are looking at having 28 or 29 kids and baseball has a lot of recruits coming in,” he said. “We might have to concentrate on a JV program to keep those kids satisfied.”
The following are excerpts from the interview.
Q: What has been the difference in finding recruits to come to Dakota Wesleyan?
A: I think our coaches really work hard to find a good fit for students here and finding kids that would be a good fit for us. We’re really trying to go after higher academic kids as well and the coaches have done well with that.
Q: How much confidence do you have in your coaching staffs throughout the programs?
A: I’m very confident with where we’re at now. That’s one problem sometimes in the NAIA with coaches wanting to move up. We’ve got young coaches and they’re highly motivated and they get the most out of the players.
Q: What was the biggest surprise that you saw with the athletic program this year?
A: Two areas stood out to me. I thought our women’s basketball team excelled and softball.
I think Ed (Kieff) surprised everybody with the softball program in his first year. They thought he was just going to come in to coach and struggle but they won a lot of ballgames. He stepped in and made that program stronger with basically the same girls we had.
Q: What performances throughout the year, team or individual, really stood out to you this year?
A: Tamika Irvin in track and Dani Bellet in golf.
I know Bellet was a little disappointed in how things turned out at nationals because she expected to finish a little better but her career was just remarkable and Irvin has just done great in sprinting races with two All-American finishes. Those two definitely stick out to me when I look back.
Q: When assessing this athletic season, which teams need the most improvement?
A: I think we really need to show improvement in our volleyball program. They’ve just fought injuries so much and once they get healthy I think that program will get better.
I know they were disappointed this year and I’m optimistic that it’s going to get better.
Q: How has the atmosphere at Dakota Wesleyan changed since you took over as athletic director?
A: I hope it’s changed for the better. I think our coaches like it and feel pretty secure with where they’re at.
You always come to a place and you work hard and you want to leave it better than when you came and that’s anybody’s goal no matter what they do. As an athletic director that’s been my goal, to guide these coaches and put them in the direction we want to go and I’ve felt good about the improvements we’ve made in the last four years.