TIFTON—In a live television event from the ABAC TV Studio, ABAC Athletics Director Alan Kramer announced on Monday afternoon that men’s and women’s cross-country will be added to the intercollegiate sports lineup this fall at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
Kramer added the icing on the cake by announcing that Mike Beeman, a participant in 45 straight Boston Marathons and a former cross-country coach at Tift County High School, will be the head coach for both the ABAC women’s and men’s cross-country teams.
“I think it’s going to be fantastic,” Kramer told ABAC Public Relations Director Emeritus Mike Chason on the TV interview. “This new ABAC sport will keep runners here in South Georgia. They can stay home and get a bachelor’s degree from ABAC while they continue their cross-country careers.
“We have a lot of quality runners in South Georgia and across the state. A lot of these kids have run on the ABAC campus on our certified course.”
Beeman, who’s retiring from Tift County High School this year, could not contain his enthusiasm for the new endeavor.
“It’s a blessing and a great opportunity for me,” Beeman said. “I’m so excited I don’t know how to handle it. Just to be a part of a start-up is really something special.”
Beeman helped to start the women’s cross-country program at UMass Lowell in 1981.
“That program is now a Division I powerhouse,” Beeman said.
Kramer said Beeman’s background makes him a perfect fit for the new ABAC sport.
“He lives to run,” Kramer said. “He gives our future athletes a name to attach to the program. Mike is going to be a huge asset for ABAC. He’s a good ambassador for the sport of cross-country and for ABAC in general.”
ABAC will compete in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association where the Golden Stallions and Golden Fillies already field teams in men’s baseball, golf, and tennis as well as women’s tennis, softball, and soccer.