HICKORY – Kim Pate, director of athletics at Lenoir-Rhyne University since 2016, has been promoted to vice president of athletics.
In her new role, she will continue to provide leadership to the Bears’ athletic department as well as serve on the president’s leadership team to support broader campus missions and strategic decisions.
Last school year, LRU had its best finish in the South Atlantic Conference (SAC) Echols Athletic Excellence Award, finishing second by 10 points. The Bears had 1,521 points – a program record – and led the standings after fall and winter for the first time.
In Pate’s first three years at LRU, the school has led the SAC with 579 student-athletes on the SAC Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
Before being hired by LRU, Pate was director of athletics at the University of Illinois Springfield for five years, where she was responsible for the administration and oversight of a 16-sport NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics program in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. Before that, she worked at Brevard College asdirector of athletics for more than three years (2007-11).
Pate’s experience also includes more than six years of active involvement on numerous national athletic committees and organizations.
Meet new-look Joe Bear on Wednesday
LRU has developed a fresh look for the school mascot, Joe Bear.
He has a new costume and is wearing an LRU football jersey and will have an updated wardrobe throughout the year.
Joe Bear serves as an ambassador for LRU and is an entertainer at campus and off-campus community events.
“Joe Bear is an important part of the Bear family, and we want him to embody school spirit,” Cat Niekro, vice president for institutional advancement, said in a press release. “He has strong ties to our Lenoir-Rhyne history and resonates pride and tradition for alumni, current students, and visitors.”
The Bears name was adopted in 1924 after a sports reporter described the baseball team charging out of the dugout like mountain bears. The original Joe Bear was introduced to campus in 1927 as a live black bear, the symbol of the college athletics mascot.
The community is invited to meet Joe Bear “Between the Bricks” on Wednesday at 6 p.m. for 828 Day, a free, family-friendly event celebrating LRU athletics.
Tarr tabbed to lead tennis
Jesse Tarr, associate head coach at Queens University since 2016, has been named the men’s and women’s head tennis coach at LRU.
He has spent three years at Queens, the men’s team reached the NCAA tournament each year and the women advanced twice.
“He brings tremendous experience, energy, and a true passion for developing student-athletes both on and off the court,” Pate said in a press release. “I am confident that he will build on the tremendous success and recent momentum to take our program to the next level with the goal of competing for championships and NCAA postseason opportunities.”
Tarr’s coaching tenure also includes from 2010-2016 as an assistant coach at Charlotte, where he guided 24 all-conference players.
He also served as an assistant coach at William & Mary and was a volunteer assistant coach at Boise State.
Tarr was a standout player at James Madison for four years, making all-conference five times. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in coaching education.
McGeachy Center dedication on Sept. 7
LRU has scheduled a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony for the newly completed Neill McGeachy Sports Performance Center for 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 7.
The ceremony is free and open to the public and will be in the new weight room.
The Bears will open the football season that day with a 6 p.m. kickoff against St. Augustine in Moretz Stadium to start LRU’s 100th football season.
The $3-million, 14,000 square-foot facility was named for the late McGeachy, former director of intercollegiate athletics and executive director of the Bears Club.
The building features a weight room, nutrition bar and indoor turf training area, dedicated team meeting rooms, additional coaches’ offices, and an enclosed pavilion and outdoor courtyard for Bears Club hospitality and engagement space.
Homeside seating at Moretz Stadium has been demolished and temporary bleachers are in place for the 2019 season.
LRU men league favorite in soccer
Conference men’s soccer head coaches picked LRU to win the SAC title in a preseason poll.
The Bears won the title a year ago, the first one in school history in men’s soccer, and they were 11-6 overall and 7-3 in the conference.
LRU got six of the 11 first-place votes and is picked ahead of Queens.
The Bears have three preseason All-SAC players: junior midfielder Victor Cascon (Salamanca, Spain), first team, and senior forward Goncalo Garcia (Lisbon, Portugal), and sophomore midfielder Carles Montoliu Lobo (Valencia, Spain) on second-team.
LRU’s season begins Sept. 5 at home at 7 p.m. against Limestone College.
Bears’ women third in soccer poll
LRU, after winning at least 10 matches in 11 straight seasons, starts this season picked to finish third in the SAC in a vote by league coaches.
Lincoln Memorial earned seven first-place votes and is the preseason favorite with Carson-Newman picked to finish second.
LRU has four preseason All-SAC players — senior midfielder Aqsa Mushtaq (Bradford, England) and senior defender Christina Shimshock (Asheville) on first-team and senior midfielder Abigael McGarel (Morristown, Tenn.), and senior forward Hannah Van Eerden (Stokedale) on second-team.
The Bears start their season Sept. 5 at home against Lees-McRae with a 5 p.m. start.
Bears picked to finish sixth in volleyball
LRU was picked to finish sixth in the league in volleyball in voting by conference coaches.
Wingate is favored to win the conference title for the 14th straight year. The Bulldogs were 32-2 last season and 19-1 in the league, winning the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional and advancing to the national quarterfinals.
Anderson was picked to finish second and Lincoln Memorial and Carson-Newman tied for third place.
Taylor Prall and Jaclyn Denny of LRU were named second-team preseason All-SAC.
The SAC season begins on Sept. 6.
LRU men picked sixth in cross country
LRU’s men are predicted to finish sixth among 12 teams this season in SAC cross county.
In a vote of league coaches, Queens was selected as the favorite and Anderson, S.C., was predicted to finish second.
Bears tabbed third in women’s cross country
Women’s cross country head coaches in the SAC say LRU will finish third this season.
In preseason voting, the Bears were selected to finish behind Queens, which has won three straight league titles, and Anderson, S.C.
- Reported by LRU Sports Information