Five new programs added to QU athletic offerings

AD Conversations: Part Three in a series
Five new programs have been added to Quincy University athletics roster.
Five new programs have been added to Quincy University athletics roster.(WGEM)
Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 7:56 PM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - When Josh Rabe talks about the Quincy University athletic department, he likes to emphasize opportunity for the school’s prospective students.

And that’s exactly what brings a smile to Rabe, who is starting his second year as athletic director, when discussing five new programs that will debut during the 2022-23 school year.

The Hawks will field teams in sprint football, men’s and women’s wrestling and men’s and women’s swimming for the first time this year. That brings the total of sports teams offered at QU to 14 for men and 12 for women.

Rabe said the amount of high school football talent in the local area made sprint football a natural for players who want to continue their post-high school careers but might not be physically built to play NAIA or NCAA football. The only difference is players can’t exceed a weight limit, which is 178 pounds.

“I’m not sure what to expect so this should be really interesting,” Rabe said.

The program also boosts the university’s enrollment as first-year coach Connor McLaughlin already has a roster of 60 players.

Rabe said the Hawks will join with Bellarmine, Calumet College of St. Francis, Fontbonne, Midway University and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods to play in the six-team Midwest Sprint Football League.

The sprint football team will be a separate sport from the NCAA Div. II team with its own players, coaches, uniforms and practices. The schedule calls for six, with three games to be played at QU Stadium. The season opens Sept. 17 at Fontbonne in St. Louis, and the home opener is Oct. 1 against Bellarmine. The Hawks will play Fontbonne twice and the other four MSFL teams once.

In April, QU announced plans to add men’s and women’s wrestling.

“There’s been interest in adding the wrestling programs for several years,” Rabe said. “There’s a lot of advantages because of its availability in high schools around the area.”

QU also saw a void to fill when two NAIA programs in the area, Hannibal-LaGrange University and Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., decided to not offer the programs any more.

Rabe said there are 33 wrestlers combined in both programs, which wrestle under the banner of NCAA Div. II. Both teams will host several dual meets at the Pepsi Arena and will practice in the renovated gym at the former Dewey School.

“We got a great opportunity to revamp the gym and turn it into a home for the wrestling programs,” Rabe said.

Jimmy Eggemeyer will serve as director of wrestling and a head coach with Jeff Haley listed as a head coach.

Men’s and women’s swimming round out the new programs and will swim at the pool in the Health & Fitness Center.

Rabe said both programs total 25 swimmers. Bryan Christiansen will be the head coach, assisted by Grant Anger. The swimming season is considered a winter sport.

The addition of the five new sports includes about 120 athletes to help boost the school’s enrollment.


A myriad of projects have taken place over the summer but two of the bigger improvements have been the addition of a weight room and the paving of the parking lot at QU Stadium.

Rabe said the brainchild of head football coach Gary Bass was to convert the former Hawks Hangout building into a weight room.

“It needed a lot of work to develop into an outstanding facility,” Rabe said. “Our coaches did a lot of the work.”

Rabe said the Mart Heinen Club helped finance the project. “We showed them what we needed and they really stepped up.”

The new facility houses 25 work stations and about 75 athletes can work out each hour.

As a former successful baseball player and coach, Rabe had first-hand knowledge of the gravelly, pothole-filled, muddy quagmire that was known as the parking lot at QU Stadium.

Thanks to some major donors, the parking lot is currently being paved and should be ready for football tailgating in September. Emerick Brothers Construction of Quincy was contracted for the work.

“That was a long overdue project,” Rabe said. “I think that parking lot has been that was since about 1938 when stadium was built.

“It should make for a much better atmosphere for our football tailgating and I know a lot of our baseball parents are going to be very happy.”


The headline hire of the QU coaching staff is the return of Steve Hawkins as men’s basketball coach.

Hawkins, whose hiring was announced March 9, compiled a record of 137-111 with three NCAA Tournament appearances during his first tenure at QU from 1990-2000. From 2000-2020, Hawkins spent 20 years at Western Michigan University, his last 17 as head coach, where he compiled a 291-262 record with seven 20-victory seasons.

Other new head coaches include Mackenzie Schissel (women’s soccer), Chris Ascheman (track and field) and Cathy Monroe (softball).

Rabe said two other changes in administration include assistant AD of sports communication Max Bennett, who came aboard earlier this season and Carla Passini Kielsmeier, who was named associate AD of external operations and senior women’s administrator.

“Carla resigned her position as softball coach to join us here on the ‘dark side’ of athletic administration,” Rabe joked. “But one thing I do know she is really working to help improve our game day atmospheres.”


With the move of Lindenwood and Southern Indiana to NCAA Div. I, the Great Lakes Valley Conference has 13 teams for the 2022-23 season. And on Sept. 30, the University of Indianapolis board of trustees will vote on a move to Div. I, which most insiders believe will happen.

Rabe said that would leave the league with 12 teams “which is a good number” although it will cause scheduling issues for football because only six play the sport. So that would mean finding five or six nonconference games or playing some teams twice.

“The football situation is a major concern,” Rabe admitted.

The GLVC, which had teams in Ohio and Kentucky when it first formed, has had a major shift to the west in the last decade. If Indy leaves, Lewis in Romeoville is the team furthest to the east as well as the northernmost school. And the conference headquarters in Indianapolis would be quite a distance from most of the member schools.


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