WWU football unveiling

William Woods University announces the historic addition of intercollegiate football

University also adds Women’s Flag Football, the latest new sports added to a growing university

For the first time in its 153-year history, William Woods University (WWU) will be represented on the gridiron beginning in 2024.

President Dr. Jeremy Moreland joined WWU Athletic Director Steve Wilson and University supporters today in announcing the launching of a pair of new sports offerings, both set to begin competition during the 2024-25 academic year. The Owls will field their inaugural season of men’s intercollegiate football in the autumn of 2024 followed by women’s flag football for the 2025 season.

Jim Hagle

National searches for both head coaches are underway, and recruitment for these two new sports will begin immediately. Prospective student-athletes are encouraged to complete a sports questionnaire on the WWU Owls athletic website (https://wwuowls.com) or complete the application on the William Woods University website (https://www.williamwoods.edu) to begin the admissions process.

“The addition of football at William Woods is a groundbreaking investment in the future of our University, one that typifies the remarkable growth and vitality of our institution,” said President Moreland. “Across the board, we have been growing as a University – in enrollment, academics and athletics – and adding the biggest sport in collegiate athletics is the latest, most prominent demonstration of that exciting trend. We cannot wait to welcome all Owls ‘home’ in the Fall of 2024 for our first-ever traditional autumn homecoming centered around a home William Woods football game!”

The Owls will play both sports on campus at the current home for the William Woods men’s and women’s soccer teams, which will be surfaced artificially in Spring 2024. William Woods is currently accepting bids from turf vendors.

“I have seen, first-hand, what football – successful football – can and will do for an institution, and I’ve been part of pioneering, exciting efforts in the sport of women’s flag football. These are terrific additions that will bring a new element of excitement to our campus,” said Steve Wilson, WWU’s Director of Athletics. “William Woods Athletics carries a strong and proud tradition of success in all facets of a student-athlete’s experience, and our aim with both the football program and flag football program at The Woods is no different. We will win in the classroom, in our community, and on the field.”

The additions are part of WWU’s stunning growth since President Moreland became president in October 2021. Just two weeks ago, the University announced the establishment of the first-ever Ph.D. program in William Woods history, a Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership. Enrollment at the University continues to grow, with the incoming class in the Fall of 2022 the largest in five years and one that was up 40 percent from the previous year. And athletically, The Woods has now added seven new varsity offerings and five developmental teams in the last 18 months.

William Woods is currently a member of the American Midwest Conference (AMC), which does not sponsor football. The University, however, reaffirmed its commitment to the conference Monday, stating that there are no plans to leave the AMC as the Owls’ primary conference.

Large crowd at WWU football announcement

“As a longstanding and proud member of the AMC, one that is thrilled with our local and regional rivalries across sport offerings in the conference, we have no plans to pursue conference membership for our non-football sport offerings,” Wilson said. “We are evaluating conference affiliations for both football and flag football as per-sport members in conferences that offer these new additions to our campus.” The William Woods University Department of Athletics supports 24 varsity athletics programs and five developmental teams. The University is a proud member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and is an NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star Award winner.