Former NFL Player Helps Local Univ. Reinvent Itself: New NAIA Athletics, New Mascot, New Attitude
With a 2010 National Baseball Championship Under Its Belt and Enrollment at All-Time High, 74-year-old Christian University Launches First-time Football, Three New Sports and a New Mascot
WEST POINT, Ga., Sept. 1, 2011—Former NFL player, Auburn starting cornerback and two-time all SEC player Kevin Porter has his hands full as the new athletic director for Point University (formerly Atlanta Christian College). Just a year away from its primary campus relocating from East Point in greater Atlanta to a larger, new campus in West Point near the Georgia-Alabama state line, Point University begins this academic year not only with record-breaking enrollment, but with:
- the launch of three new sports programs
- five more slated for next year
- a new mascot.
One year after earning the NCCAA Division II National Baseball Championship title, Point University announced it was joining the NAIA with all of its athletic programs active by the 2012-13 season. Building on that momentum, Point University’s new football (Aug. 20) and cross country (Sept. 2) programs kicked off this month and a third sport - softball - will kick off in spring 2012. Officials say that five additional sports will be announced in the coming months for competition in the 2012-13 school year.
"The growth of our athletic program, our new facilities in West Point and joining the NAIA has generated excitement among students and supporters of Point University. As we become part of our new community, athletics will be a common bond and will introduce more people to the influence Point University students and athletes have both on and off the field," said Coach Porter, who became Point University's athletic director in April 2011.
This week, Point University students learned of their new mascot - the Skyhawks - marking yet another "first" in this season of firsts. In addition to football (which plays at the club level during its inaugural year) and cross country, the men's and women's soccer and volleyball teams are currently in season and will immediately play as the Skyhawks.
"I, and most other students at Point University, want to be a point of influence for Christ in our world - whether it's through the way we play sports, do our schoolwork or, ultimately, function in our careers," said basketball player Tory Wooley, who helped select the new mascot. "I am excited about the Skyhawks and the new level of competition and excellence at Point."
"In this exciting season of new beginnings for Point University - including the transition to a higher level of athletic competition in the NAIA in 2012 - it's only fitting that the mascot be recreated to reflect the new level of athletic excellence at Point University," said President Dean Collins.
Coaches for all athletic programs, several student-athletes and administrators met for a "Character Camp" in May, where they reviewed the role of sports at Point University, discussed what is distinct about the school's athletic programs and brainstormed the characteristics of a mascot that would best represent Point University and its student-athletes. From there, a variety of mascots were presented and the coaches and athletes unanimously chose Skyhawks.
Coach Porter said, "the name and visual representation of the Skyhawk is strong, intense, respected and bold - it captures the attitude and significance of sports at Point University where our students seek to be points of influence for Christ on the field, in the classroom and in the world." Porter, a former NFL player for the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets, four-year-starting cornerback at Auburn andtwo–time all-SEC player, joined Point University as its first football coach and new athletic director this spring.
The mascot choice provides a subtle nod to the school's first, unofficial mascot from the late 1940s: Sky Pilots, a slang term/nickname for military chaplains in World War II. Skyhawk is also the name of a type of old fighter jet, which evokes thoughts of fierceness and intensity.
IMPORTANT FIRSTS FOR POINT UNIVERSITY SPORTS
- May 2010: Atlanta Christian College baseball team takes NCCAA Division II national title
- April 2011: Kevin Porter, former four-year-starting cornerback at Auburn, all-SEC selection, and NFL player joins Point University as athletic director and head football coach
- July 1: Atlanta Christian College officially becomes Point University
- Aug. 17: First semester as Point University begins with a record 1,200 students
- Aug. 20: Point University's club football program launches with a roster of 56 players and a 22-6 loss against Lindsey-Wilson College, Ky.
- Aug. 31: Point University introduces the Skyhawk as its mascot
- Sept. 2: Point University’s new cross country team begins its season
- Oct. 1: Point University hosts its first home football game near West Point
- Spring 2012: Point University launches softball program
- TBD: Point University announces five new sports programs for 2012-2013 competition
- Profile a school that is significantly expanding its sports program, despite a troubled economy, and is seeing an immediate growth in enrollment as a result
- Interview President Dean Collins, Athletic Director and Football Coach Kevin Porter and Point University student-athletes
- Oct. 1: Point University's first home football game
- 11:30 a.m. tailgate lunch at Ram Stadium, 130 Sportsplex Drive, Valley, Ala.
- 1:00 p.m. Point University vs. Greenville Technical College
About POINT UNIVERSITY
Formerly known as Atlanta Christian College (1937-June 30, 2011), Point University is a private, four-year, liberal arts Christian institution where students are challenged to excel academically, grow spiritually and engage globally. Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), Point University offers associate and bachelor's degrees in 13 areas of study for traditional and adult learners. The university's main campus will move to West Point, Ga., for the 2012 academic year, with locations for adult accelerated learning in East Point, West Point and Peachtree City. Point University equips its students to be points of influence, taking their faith into the marketplace in new and culturally relevant ways so that life and mission become the same. Point.edu