May 19, 2010
Rome, Ga. - In just four years, the Shorter College track and field program has become a major player in the NAIA national scene.
It now has the backing of one of the major players in the sports surface industry.
On Wednesday, May 19, Shorter and Beynon Sports Surfaces agreed to a four-year sponsorship deal worth $20,000 that will help provide critical financial assistance for a program that has quickly developed into one of the nation's elite.
The agreement was finalized at a social event held Tuesday night at Shorter's Ben Brady Field. Beynon provided pizza and other refreshments for members of the Shorter track teams, who will be competing in the NAIA Track & Field National Championship in Marion, Ind., May 27-29.
"We are truly excited to team with Beynon, one of the foremost names in sports surfaces," said Shorter's Director of Athletics, Bill Peterson. "Beynon has been a strong supporter of everything we have done with our track program and we look forward to working with them in hosting a number of meets in the future."
"Beynon is excited about the relationship that we have created with Shorter College and the City of Rome," said Beynon's National Sales Director and current Bartow resident, Gary Wilson, who expressed his personal interest in the chance to improve the local track scene as a member of the community. "There are tremendous opportunities for all parties involved to not only host track meets, but also to potentially host national championship track meets. I know that Bill Peterson and [Shorter head track and field coach] Scott Byrd are striving hard to coordinate such attractive events and improve both athletics and community relations.
"We look forward to what is in store for Shorter College as well as track and field in Northwest Georgia and Rome/Floyd County."
Shorter's immediate ties with Beynon extend well past the monetary agreement.
The Hawks and Lady Hawks will have the opportunity to host track meets at Barron Stadium for the first time in program history next spring as Beynon is providing the synthetic surface that will make up a state-of-the-art, eight-lane track at the historic site that already serves as the home field for Shorter football and the NAIA Football National Championship.
The newly renovated surface, a major portion of the stadium's scheduled upgrade that is already underway and is expected to be completed by August, will give Shorter track and field one of the top track facilities in the South and will serve as an attractive venue for future meets.
Shorter head track and field coach Scott Byrd is already planning to hold at least one meet at the new facility next spring, with plans on hosting two or three events per year to provide his athletes a chance to compete against some of the nation's top programs right in their own backyard.
"We have been competing for four years and have won five conference championships, had over 40 All-Americans and two national champions and no one in the Rome community has been able to watch them," said Byrd, the two-time reigning Mid-South Conference Men's and Women's Track Coach of Year who last spring, guided the Hawks to a fifth-place finish and the women to a seventh-place finish at nationals - the best placing in each program's three-year history.
"We have run over 60 meets in four years and never hosted one," Byrd added. "Most of our athletes are from Georgia, so they will by psyched up to have the opportunity to run in front of their family and friends for the first time.
"I think this will have a positive impact on Floyd County and the City of Rome in terms of the local high school track teams getting a chance to see Shorter run against big time, NCAA Division I colleges and universities. It will raise excitement in the community because they will get to see their local athletes run against the nation's best."
Beynon has provided its materials for the facilities at storied NCAA Division I programs such as the University of Oregon, University of Alabama, Clemson University, Auburn University, Texas A&M, Louisiana State University and Birmingham-Southern.
Beynon's track was used for the 2008 United States Olympic Team Trials in Eugene, Ore., and Beynon has made its mark across the country in the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten and ACC.
Shorter's new partnership with Beynon is a testament not only to the program's current commitment to excellence, but its future aspirations of becoming the premier track and field program in the country.
"Beynon has demonstrated a commitment to the Rome area," Byrd said. "They are a state of the art company when it comes to facility design and track surfaces. Beynon has sponsored some of the top events in the country and we are very grateful to John Beynon and Gary Wilson for partnering with us.
"Beynon is not just building a track here. They are investing in our community."