Sun. May 26th, 2024

Photo: Pictured is the front page of The Quad‘s print edition of last week, published April 22, 2024. Featured is the article “‘It was mental warfare’: Former WCU Softball Player Recall a Hostile Team Culture.”

*The Quad reached out to Athletics Director (AD) Terence “Terry” Beattie with further questions about the WCU softball team and clarifications about athletic practices at the university on Friday, April 26, 2024. Those questions and his responses can be viewed here. Additionally, we asked AD Beattie “if there was anything mentioned within that piece that he would like to respond to?” AD Beattie’s Statement to The Quad is provided below.

 

As the Director of Athletics, I am committed to supporting a healthy and positive experience for all of our student-athletes. With 24 varsity sports, and nearly 600 student-athletes, I fully recognize that the experience will be different for each individual.

My wish would be that every student who puts on the Golden Ram uniform, has a positive experience and leaves WCU with a lifetime of fond memories. But I am also realistic and recognize that being a student-athlete is hard. It is not for everyone, and that is ok. While I am not at liberty to discuss personnel matters, please know that I value everyone’s experience and welcome conversations about those experiences as a learning opportunity for how we can be better.

While some student-athletes will have a more positive experience than others, our department understands the importance of everyone’s mental health and we have implemented measures over the years to provide support and resources to our student-athletes in these areas.

We began a collaboration with Dr. Rachel Daltry and the WCU Counseling Center years ago. Dr. Daltry and other WCU counseling faculty have provided programming, such as Rams Let’s Talk, team discussions and individualized counseling for students in need. Dr. Daltry often attends Athletic Department Meetings to talk with our coaches and staff and to provide education. While not an employee of our department, Dr. Daltry is a valued member of the Athletic Department and an excellent resource for our student-athletes.

Beginning in the 2022-2023 academic year, the Athletic Department has also collaborated with Dr. Margaret Ottley, Professor, Sports Psychology, as another resource for our student-athletes and teams. As a part of our Sports Performance Team, along with Athletic Training, Strength & Conditioning, Sports Nutrition, Athletic Training and Mental Health, Sports Psychology is another example of collaborations we have developed in response to the increased need for student-athlete mental health support and their holistic well-being.

We also recognize that as times change and continually evolve, we too as professionals must evolve and adapt. The athletic department has provided professional development opportunities at department staff meetings, through workshops such as the four-hour “Power of Positive Leadership” workshop facilitated by staff of the Jon Gordon Group. The workshop, along with the book of the same title each staff member received, focused on the importance of leading with positivity and provided insight on the current generation of student-athletes and tips to consider implementing within teams. The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) also sponsored two virtual workshops during the 23-24 academic year, presented by Dr. Gary Green. The first titled “Recruiting Trends & Best Practices” and the second titled “Understanding & Building Greater Resiliency in Gen Z Student-Athletes” were made available to all of our coaches as another professional development opportunity.

As we work to provide a healthy and enriching environment for our student-athletes, the Athletic Department will intensify its work in these much-needed areas and together we will strengthen our collective skill sets.

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