More than 320 young men and women at Davis & Elkins College serve a dual role. They are both students and NCAA Division II athletes. Known as Senator Nation, D&E athletics has a long and rich tradition and remains today a highly valued aspect of Davis & Elkins College.
Today the College sponsors 23 sports, of which 10 are for men and 13 are for women. While D&E does not have football, there was a time in our history when we did. I had the distinct pleasure of joining several alumni last homecoming for a football reunion. Back in the 1920s, 30s and 40s, Davis & Elkins faced the likes of, and defeated, West Virginia University, Navy and George Washington on the gridiron.
The College won its first national championship in 1968 when the men’s soccer team defeated Quincy, 2-1, in five overtimes and was crowned the best in the NAIA. At Homecoming this year, both men’s and women’s soccer alumni from the past decades will gather for a banquet on the 50th anniversary of the ’68 national title. Other national titles have followed, numerous NAIA and NCAA playoff wins and appearances, conference championships, all-Americans and the like.
Recently a press conference held on campus announced that D&E will be joining the Mountain East Conference beginning in the fall of 2019. We are looking forward to returning to competition primarily against traditional West Virginia rivals. The opportunity to become a part of the Mountain East brings several significant advantages to D&E, the primary one being significantly less travel for our student-athletes. This keeps them in class more, and spending more time with academics and athletics practice, rather than very long road trips for competition. We are also excited that more regional press coverage will be afforded to our program as we play schools in West Virginia television markets. This should help us with recruiting generally, and athletic recruiting specifically. As mentioned previously, we are looking forward to renewing some spirited rivalries with our neighbors in Buckhannon, Fairmont, Glenville, Wheeling and Charleston, among others.
I am very grateful to our Athletic Director Jamie Joss and all of our coaches and athletic staff for making clear to all athletes at D&E that they are student-athletes … in that order. Like all of them, I want to see us competitive on the field or court. Bringing home conference championships is certainly a goal. However, it is not the only goal. Equally as important, we want our student-athletes to win in the classroom as they excel in academics. We want our student-athletes to build character, exhibit exceptional sportsmanship and model community service as a value to be prized.
Our athletic teams compete for the “Senator Cup” that is awarded each spring. It goes to the team judged the best at the four pillars of D&E’s athletic program, namely education, engagement, character and competition. The Senator Cup is a cherished prize, and our athletes make D&E proud as they embody these four pillars as D&E Senators.
Come out to a game and support our student-athletes as they represent D&E.
The journey continues….