University of South Dakota Athletics has recently agreed to a multi-year partnership with Career Athletes. The partnership between Career Athletes and the South Dakota athletic department provides a national representation of unique networking opportunities and career development resources for current and alumni athletes.
South Dakota is the first school in the Great West Conference to provide these services to current and former student-athletes.
Interim Athletic Director at the University of South Dakota David Herbster said, "We are constantly evaluating ways to provide resources for our student-athletes to ensure their success while at USD and for the rest of their lives. We feel Career Athletes will help us to not only provide for our current student-athletes, but help us connect with our former letterwinners and have them involved back in the program in a meaningful way."
The 2010-2011 school year will be South Dakota athletics final seasons to participate in the Great West Conference before joining the Summit League in 2011-2012. The USD swimming and diving teams competed in its first season in Summit League competition the previous school year. All Coyote sports will then join University of Missouri–Kansas City and Oakland University as the third Summit League partner of Career Athletes.
This Online Career Community Network will provide benefits such as mentoring, professional networking, virtual career coaching and 12 years of best practices from the leading and largest career services organization assisting athletes, athletic departments and campus career centers.
"This is a fantastic addition to our athletic student support services program," said David Lorenz, director of Athletic Academic Advising at the University of South Dakota. "We are excited to provide Coyote student-athletes with opportunities to be mentored by former Coyote athletes and to have access to nationwide job opportunities."
The University of South Dakota "Community Network" consists of current and alumni athletes from the institution as well as local, regional and national employers all managed and monitored by Career Athletes at its home office in the Kansas City area. Individual members of Career Athletes are also able to network with over 65,000 former college athletes from across the nation while having access to over 5,000 career opportunities exclusive to www.careerathletes.com. Career Athletes also provides USD Athletics the unique ability to enhance fundraising and recruiting efforts while offering a revenue share program that allows the university to receive additional monetary resources.
DJ Washington, vice president of Career Education and Training at Career Athletes, explained that beyond an athletic department's initiative assisting with career opportunities and educational resources, it also helps when there is already a foundation on campus toward academic success.
"We are pleased to assist South Dakota Athletics with its commitment toward career development of athletes, but it is also just as important to recognize the program's culture of achievement in community service, academic performance and athletic success," said Washington.
The University of South Dakota is no stranger to success as indicated by additional achievements during the 2009-2010 academic year:
• 60 student-athletes were named to the Great West Academic All-Conference Team.
• Men's Basketball was both regular season and tournament Conference Champions.
• The Men's and Women's Indoor Track teams earned Conference Championships.
• 27 swimmers and divers were named to the Summit Leagues Commissioner List of Academic Excellence.
• Conference Players of the Year include: Tyler Cain, Men's Basketball; Mel Johnson, Softball Pitcher of the Year; Bailey Reshel, Volleyball Freshman of the Year; Kate Wellensiek, Outdoor Track Female Newcomer of the Year; Rob Gregoire, Indoor Men's Track; Ramsey Fitzsimmons, Indoor Women's Track.
• Chris Ganious, Football, was named an Academic All-American.
• Total All-Conference Honors include 142 (64 men and 78 women) Conference Players of the Week, 3 Great West Athletes of the month.
Several USD Coaches were honored by being named Conference Coaches of the year. These include, Dave Boots (men's basketball), Lucky Huber (women's indoor track), Dave Gottsleben (men's indoor track).