December 11, 2013 1:30PM
The NCAA’s announcement today that it had selected Pittsburg State University as a host site for the 2016 and 2018 Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track Championships is a vote of confidence in the university and the community, according to PSU President Steve Scott.
“For the NCAA to choose Pittsburg State as a host site, in a facility we haven’t even broken ground on, reflects the organization’s faith in the university and the greater community to get the job done and to do it right,” said PSU President Steve Scott. “I am confident we will not only meet their high expectations, but exceed them.”
Jim Johnson, PSU director of Intercollegiate Athletics, echoed President Scott’s sentiments.
“It’s an honor to be selected to host an NCAA National Championship,” Johnson said. “We knew we had a strong bid, but when you don’t even have a facility constructed yet, there’s always doubt. It really speaks to the confidence that the NCAA has in Pittsburg State University and in our community.”
No one on campus was more excited about the news than PSU Track & Field head coach Russ Jewett.
“I’m ecstatic,” Jewett said with a smile. “How many teams really get the opportunity to compete in a national championship on the campus of their own university? It’s just an incredible feeling and reflects the confidence that the NCAA has in Pittsburg State University and in our program. We know that with the help of others here at Pitt State, the city of Pittsburg, and the Crawford County CVB, we’ll be a great host, and that we’ll have an amazing facility in which to host these national championships.”
Scott said the university, the community and the region are building a formidable team.
“With the completion of the Indoor Event Center, Pittsburg State will offer some of the best facilities in the country for events like these,” Scott said. “That, combined with the incredible support we have from the City of Pittsburg, the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors Bureau, makes us a strong contender to host a variety of national and regional events.”
B.J. Harris, director of the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said that combined effort is putting the community and the region on a national stage.
“This event will bring more than 1,000 competitors and support personnel from every corner of the U.S. to Pittsburg for three exciting days,” Harris said. “The economic impact will be significant, but just as important will be the national attention this will bring to the region.”
Jewett said spectators at the event will get to see some of the best athletes in the world compete.
“The national championships are a showcase for the very best athletes in all of Division II,” Jewett said. “There’s not a doubt in my mind that some of the young men and women that compete in these championships will be competing in the Olympics in 2016 or 2020.”
Key to the university’s ability to host the championships will be the completion of a new indoor event center.
“The completion of the event center will provide one of the best facilities in the U.S. for the championships,” Scott said.
Scott said the university’s track record should dispel any doubts about PSU’s ability to successfully host such a high-profile event.
“Whether it is hosting SAE Baja – Kansas, the Shrine Bowl or countless NCAA playoff games, Pitt State has time and again set the bar, not only for facilities, but also for community support and engagement,” Scott said.