Former University of South Carolina Women's Golf Coach and Assistant Athletic Director Kim Abbott has been named the first athletic director at Columbia International University (CIU). The announcement is a major step toward an intercollegiate athletics program for the 87-year-old school.
Abbott is currently serving as athletic director at USC-Beaufort where she oversaw that school's entry into intercollegiate athletics.
CIU President, Dr. Bill Jones says much prayer and consultation went into the selection of Abbott for the position. "Kim Abbott is uniquely qualified with the professional skills needed to have a successful athletic program and the spiritual foundation to do so consistent within our Christian value system," Jones said.
Abbot says she understands the positive influence of Christian coaches. Her father John Erickson, former University of Wisconsin basketball coach and a founder of the Milwaukee Bucks, was also the president of Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) for 18 years and is a 2002 inductee into FCA's Hall of Champions.
"I grew up hearing and believing what the Rev. Billy Graham said that 'One coach will impact more young people in a year than the average person does in a lifetime.' I consider the athletic field to be my mission field," Abbott said.
Jones says for CIU, intercollegiate athletics is a way to develop Christian character in its students. "Our mission is to educate people from a biblical world view to impact the nations with message of Christ, and that will be the same goal of our athletics program," Jones said.
The first sports to be organized will be men's and women's basketball, men's and women's soccer and women's volleyball, with cross-country a possibility in the near future. Plans are for the first teams to enter into club sports in 2010 and intercollegiate competition in fall 2011.
Learn more about Kim Abbott in this report from "The Island Packet" newspaper in Hilton Head Island, S.C.:
See media coverage of CIU's future athletics programs at WACH TV in Columbia: