Cumberland targeting collegiate archers

Larry Woody • Mar 15, 2017 at 8:30 AM

A football recruiter looks for big, strong guys.

A basketball recruiter covets tall athletes that can run and jump.

An archery recruiter's task is not so clear-cut. He looks for heart and desire.

"Archers come in all sizes, and in all levels of physical ability," says Mike Hudson, coach of Cumberland University's new archery team. "What I look for is desire and commitment. Being a good archer is more mental than physical."

Hudson is in the process of recruiting archers for Cumberland's inaugural team. It is scheduled to be in place by this fall, and will compete in the NAIA along with the school's other sports teams.

Hudson hopes to initially sign 10 archer-athletes to scholarships, which can range up to $10,000 each. The scholarships will be awarded based on need and other available grants for which the student is eligible.

"We want to stretch our scholarship funds as far as possible to include as many student-athletes as we can," Hudson says.

Both men and women can apply for the scholarships. The team will be co-ed, with competitions for both male and female shooters.

How does a brand-new program attract recruits?

"Right now it's primarily through word of mouth, newsletters and the media," Hudson says. "There is a link to our archery program on Cumberland University's website, explaining the process. I'm already getting some inquiries."

Hudson can be contacted at 615-372-4179.

An intercollegiate archer must meet the same NAIA eligibility requirements and academic standards as all other student-athletes.

When Cumberland decided to field an archery team it didn't have to look far for a coach. Hudson is a resident of Mt. Juliet and owner of H Lazy H Archery where he serves as an instructor. He has been a certified archery teacher for 25 years, helping pioneer programs for the YMCA and other organizations.

"I'm excited about being part of a new program like this," Hudson says. "It's going to be fun and challenging."

Intercollegiate archery is relatively new. Only 17 universities currently have scholarship teams, although many others offer club-level archery. But it is growing -- all seven other schools in the Mid-South Conference have committed to follow Cumberland's lead in fielding an archery team in the near future.

"Archery is a fast-growing sport in high schools," Hudson says. "In recent years over 300 Tennessee schools have formed teams, and archery is now an interscholastic sport."

Those high school archers represent a good recruiting pool for college coaches.

"High school archers have mastered the basic skills, and that makes it easier to evaluate them when they try to advance to the college level," Hudson says.

Like any coach, Hudson intends to sign the best archer-athletes he can get, and hopes to include some from Wilson County and the surrounding area.

"I'm anxious to get our first signee," he says. "I can't wait to get going."

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