Rogers State is planning to implement men’s and women’s golf programs for the 2009-10.

The announcement was made Tuesday by Wren Baker, RSU director of athletics.

RSU joins nine other Sooner Athletic Conference schools fielding men’s golf teams, while seven compete in women’s golf.

Golf has been part of the long-range plans for RSU since athletics was reintroduced to the campus four years ago. RSU will compete as a full status member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the SAC in men’s and women’s golf in 2009-10. The teams and individuals will be eligible to compete in conference and national championship events in the spring of 2010.

Baker says he plans to hire a part-time coach to lead each program before the end of the current academic year.

“The addition of men’s and women’s golf is a testament to the continued growth of Hillcat athletics and Rogers State University as a whole,” RSU President Dr. Larry Rice said. “We’ve received a lot of interest in the potential expansion of our athletics programs and we’re happy to have the ability to introduce two new programs with moderate start-up and operating costs to the university.”

RSU began competing in team sports as a member of the NAIA in 2006 with its first-year baseball and softball programs. Men’s and women’s basketball and men’s and women’s soccer were added for the 2007-08 academic year. The Hillcats also field a competitive cheerleading squad and rodeo team.

Several of the RSU programs have drawn regional and national attention with their immediate success. The Hillcat men’s basketball program boasts a 13-1 record and a No. 3 national ranking in its second year of competition.

The women’s soccer team won the SAC postseason conference tournament in 2007 and reached the regional finals before finishing with a 20-3-1 record.

RSU softball peaked at No. 5 in the national polls last spring after beating No. 1 and eventual national champion Lubbock Christian.

The Hillcat baseball team produced the school’s first Academic All-American last spring with Collinsville native Tyler Whitaker.

Overall, RSU has won nearly 70 percent of its games since the inception of athletics in 2006.

“We’re excited about what we’ve been able to accomplish in the infant stages of our athletic programs,” Baker said. “It’s our goal to build championship-caliber programs with the sports we already have in place while looking for the right opportunities for expansion. After a lot of careful analysis we felt like the addition of golf was the logical next step.”

“We’re proud to announce the addition of men’s and women’s golf to the slate of Hillcat athletic programs for 2009-10,” said Wren Baker, RSU athletics director. “Our teams have achieved unprecedented success in a very short period of time and we’re excited to have the opportunity to build on that success with the development of new programs.”

A coaching search for the golf programs will begin immediately.