IU South Bend News Room

New Sports Teams Getting Ready

Posted on: June 29th, 2015 by

Beginning this fall, IU South Bend students, faculty, staff and friends can cheer on four new sports teams —men’s baseball, men’s and women’s cross country, and men’s golf. The additional teams not only help IU South Bend realize a strategic objective but also contribute to the overall caliber of student in the classroom. “Varsity athletic programs bring more student-athletes to campus, and those students tend to be successful in the classroom and graduate,” said IU South Bend Chancellor Terry L. Allison.

Indeed student-athletes at IU South Bend are among the best performing students on campus. The existing three teams (women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball finished with a grade point average (GPA) above 3.0 last year, and the women’s basketball team was 5th in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) with a 3.5 GPA.

To remain active in the NAIA, IU South Bend needed to expand athletics beyond its three existing sports. “The wheels began to turn in 2013,” said IU South Bend Director of Athletics and Activities Steve Bruce. “In order to compete in post-season play in the Chicagoland Collegiate Association Conference (CCAC), IU South Bend was required to have six sports by 2015.”

Rob Carrasco is the new men’s and women’s cross country coach. He has been successful as a runner and a coach. He was a two-time all-state cross country runner at Mishawaka High School and has coached the John Glenn High School cross country teams to three Marshall County Championships. Coach Carrasco is looking to fill three remaining spots on the women’s cross country team. If you are interested please contact him at robcarra@iusb.edu

Brian Blondell is the new men’s baseball coach. A decision to discontinue baseball at Holy Cross College in South Bend became an opportunity for IU South Bend to hire their coach and bring many of their players to campus. Blondell was an All-America pitcher at Bethel college and coached at Bethel and Washington High School in South Bend. Coach Blondell is holding tryouts for the team on September 3 and 4. For more information contact him at bblondel@iusb.edu

Justin Akers is the new men’s golf coach. He was a three-year member of the golf team at Ohio Wesleyan and also served as an assistant coach there. If you are interested in the men’s golf team please contact Coach Akers at juwakers@iusb.edu

They join current coaches Bruce (women’s basketball), Scott Cooper (men’s basketball) and Jamie Ashmore (women’s volleyball). Bruce is building an athletics  program and hiring staff at IU South Bend who foster a culture of success for student-athletes. “My job is to make sure that we hire and support coaches who want to make a positive difference in the lives of our student-athletes,” said Bruce. “All the other stuff is extra.”

Recruiting high caliber student-athletes is important, too. IU South Bend’s coaching staffs seek players who are the right fit for the culture the athletics program is trying to establish. “We are looking for players who have solid character as well as talent and a strong work ethic,” said Bruce. “Without character, the other two don’t matter.”

The Titans’ affiliation with the CCAC also makes recruiting easier. “Our conference has a good reputation, and it helps us recruit good student-athletes,” Bruce acknowledged. In addition, the beautiful campus and a faculty and staff who care about students make IU South Bend an attractive choice.

As the athletics program at IU South Bend grows, more options open for local athletes to pursue an affordable, quality education and participate in sports at a collegiate level. “More high-achieving students who may never have come to IU South Bend are choosing to come here to play sports,” said Bruce. “It’s a win-win for the university and the student-athletes.”

For more information about athletics at IU South Bend go to http://www.iusbtitans.com/

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