Broussard: Athletics Moving Forward, Forward
Thursday, August 18, 2011

Written by: Centenary Athletic Director, Dr. William Broussard

Centenary College's official motto is "labor omnia vincit," which roughly means "hard work conquers all." However, the phrase "forward, forward" from the lyrics of Centenary's alma mater is one I find particularly inspirational during this time of transition in Centenary athletics.

The phrase not only indicates a direction, but a directive - an urging, a rally cry, an admonition, even - to pursue excellence, stalk greatness and win the future. Centenary is well positioned to do all these things as we look to the future this year.

The twin moves of the Ladies and Gents into the new homes of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III and the American Southwest Conference will provide opportunities to excel and win in ways that are robust, sustainable and unprecedented at Centenary. They also more closely align Centenary athletics' mission with the institution's core commitment to academic excellence and civic leadership opportunities for all its students. As we move forward, we are hopeful that this is a mission supporters can get behind.

Celebrated abolitionist Frederick Douglass once instructed that without struggle, there is no progress. Centenary has had its share of struggles, certainly. These are struggles that, if seen in the longer arc of progress, soon will be worth the hardship for Centenary's coaches, faculty/staff, alumni and, indeed, our entire extended family. They have paved a way forward for Centenary's current generation of student-athletes and the next generation of thought leaders the college is producing.

There are so many institutions that seemingly ignore the direction of the NCAA to provide a backdrop for student-athletes to learn, lead and live. At Centenary, we are proactively pursuing this model as the best way to lead to our students' success.

Noted contrarian Christopher Hitchens, in "Letters to a Young Contrarian," instructs his pupil to live "as if." Great leaders throughout history have lived as if their lives, and the quality of the lives of all human beings, matter. We are heeding this call at Centenary. Winning, winning consistently and winning championships matter. But so do balance between those pursuits and opportunities to grow intellectually, lead on campus and in the community and engage globally.

We have been welcomed heartily by the NCAA and American Southwest Conference staff and peers who know Centenary can be a bellwether in Division III. The transitions to Division III and the American Southwest Conference will result in a better student-athlete experience. Specifically, this will mean less missed class time, more reasonable travel schedules, better regional rivalries and better prospects for championship and post-season success.

We are moving forward, forward! at Centenary, to Division III, to the American Southwest Conference and to greatness. We hope the community will join us as we progress.

William Broussard, of Shreveport, is athletics director at Centenary College of Louisiana.