Tennessee Tech needs to reach a championship level in its athletics department to help recruit more students and galvanize the student body.
“There’s so many great things about athletics here at Tennessee Tech to be proud of, but we need to create more championship level programs in athletics,” Tech President Phil Oldham said.
Oldham made the comments to the Board of Trustees after being asked by Trustee Fred Lowery what were the things that concerned him about the university. Oldham said there were a lot of things going well in athletics but said Tech sports could be better utilized by the university if they can reach that next level.
“Athletics can be a tremendous advantage to the institution beyond the confines of the campus,” Oldham said. “It can be an attractor for students. It can be an enabler of students in terms of their attitudes and outlook on life.”
Oldham said in 2018 when the Tech baseball team won an NCAA Regional and went to the Super Regional in Texas there was an uptick in morale on the campus. Oldham said it inspired everyone on campus to compete at the highest level.
“They were us,” Oldham said. “They were an extension of who we are, and they were competing at the highest levels athletically in the country, and it made us proud to see them do that. It also I think taught the campus that hey you can do this too. If you are a cyber security team member you can compete at the national level. You can be as good as anybody else anywhere. That’s the kind of thing athletics can do for you.”
That baseball season also got more students interested in attending the University. Oldham said everyone has to come together to push athletics to that championship level.
“I think that’s the only piece we miss in terms of athletics,” Oldham said. “I think that’s what we need to really push for and strive for. That means as a campus we have to support athletics better. We’ve to help them achieve that. They want to do it. They’re capable of doing it, and we need to help them get there, because it helps us as well. It really is sort of the front porch of the university, and we need a very good front porch.”