CHL Expands Athletic Scope

By Ansley Holder

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Created in fall 2012, the Center for Healthful Living (CHL) oversees Oxford athletics and recreation, health education, and credit-bearing courses in physical education. With popular programs such as Play Oxford and the Healthy Eagles peer-educators group already making an impact on campus, CHL staff and leadership continue to look for ways to expand and build on their successful first two years.

Golf clubs, running shoes, soccer balls, and active students have been a common sight on campus this year. An expansion in Oxford College athletics saw the number of competing teams increase from four to nine, and both men’s and women’s golf and cross-country have been added as club sports.

Men’s soccer returned as a varsity sport for the first time since 1987 and finished 7-7-1 under head coach Gregory Moss-Brown. “I attribute the team’s success this year to leadership,” says Moss-Brown. “My assistants—Lee Duggan and Andy Spruell—have both done a tremendous job.”

“The expansion allows the CHL to serve the needs of our students better,” explains CHL Director Amanda Yu. “The CHL strategic plan developed in 2013 included the expansion of the athletic departments, which in turn strengthens our academic component. By expanding our program we are able to offer students a wider range of activities that allow them to balance their lives.”

New courses for academic credit are available as a direct result of the CHL expansion in the fall—flag football, fitness walking, fitness running, and circuit and plyometric training. Spring semester 2015 will see two more additional courses added to the course catalog—street hockey/lacrosse and Total Wellness, which focuses on improving the mind, body, and spirit of the student.

Four new coaches joined the CHL staff in 2014: Pernilla Hardin, head men’s and women’s tennis; Dave Morris, head women’s soccer; Ella O’Kelley, head men’s and women’s cross-country; Brian Schiffbauer, head men’s and women’s golf. The CHL’s method is hybrid coaching and instruction, with all coaches teaching classes.

Recent facilities improvements and updates have been instrumental to the CHL expansion. The classrooms in Williams Hall were renovated to add technology for instruction and the two rooms are now connected with a glass door. Yu says this multipurpose area serves as a drop-down space for student athletes, meeting space for students and staff, and instructional space for CHL courses, and it is also used for recruiting. The staff office suite was modified to accommodate the new staff members and features a new brick patio that is used for athletic events, cookouts, and receptions.,/p>

The CHL plan is for cross-country and golf to transition from club sports to varsity sports in the near future. Of course, new athletic teams and an expanded recreation program mean Oxford will need to assess current athletic facilities to determine what changes or additions will be needed. An upcoming feasibility study will address these growing pains and help create a strategy for future improvements.

Local community members participate in Center for Healthful Living activities on campus throughout the year. The annual chili cook-off, 5K race, Bike Ride for Leadership, and Fowler Memorial Tennis Tournament are all open to local residents and showcase Oxford’s beautiful campus, buildings, facilities, and active students to the community.

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