Provided by Wayland Baptist University
After almost a quarter-century at the helm of the Wayland Baptist University Athletics Department, Dr. Greg Feris today announced his resignation.
"Glenda (Feris' wife) and I have been discussing the next stage of our life together for some time, and I suppose there is never a perfect time to step away from a job that you love and have a passion for. However, I believe it's time for me to move aside and allow new, fresh leadership to take the reins," Feris said.
"I'm extremely proud of our student-athletes, coaches and staff who have had such a huge impact on me and my family," added the member of the Wayland Baptist Athletics Hall of Honor, the NAIA Hall of Fame and three-time Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year. "The past 24 years on the Wayland campus have been some of the most memorable and enjoyable in my life. I will be forever grateful to our administration through the years for their encouragement and strong support of our growth and competitiveness. Whatever we have accomplished is a tribute to their vision and spirit."
Dr. Claude Lusk, Wayland's vice-president of enrollment management who oversees the athletics department, said Feris will be dearly missed.
"Wayland has been especially blessed for over a century because God has led individuals to serve here, not just work here. Dr. Feris is just such an individual," Lusk said. "He has invested his time, energy, heart and expertise into the athletic, academic and student life endeavors of this institution. He has faithfully and effectively been the steward of a rich and proud athletic tradition here at Wayland.
"Not only has he cared for what was here upon his arrival in 1990, he has led in the growth initiatives that brought us to the exciting place we are today."
When Feris arrived at Wayland in 1990, Wayland offered men's and women's basketball, and men's and women's cross country and track and field. Since then, the athletics department has grown to 21 men's and women's sports, having added baseball, volleyball, men's and women's golf, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's wrestling, men's and women's cheer and dance, football, and, just this year, men's and women's swimming and diving.
Those additions have grown the number of Wayland's student-athletes by approximately 500 percent. Today, student-athletes number upwards to 500, representing roughly one-third of the WBU-Plainview student body.
As Wayland athletics grew under Feris, so did the campus footprint. Wilder Field was built as home of the Pioneer baseball team, buildings were renovated to serve as fieldhouses for baseball and football, and the west side athletic complex, which currently house offices for soccer and track and field/cross country, was added. Surrounding practice fields for football and soccer also were developed.
Feris currently has supervision of 13 head coaches, 27 assistant coaches and eight full-time athletics staff, in addition to serving as a professor of exercise and sport science.
"During his tenure, Dr. Feris has been instrumental in the additions of new sports and new facilities," Lusk said. "He has always had his eye on both the present and the future and has done a great job of caring for both. His understanding and belief in what Wayland is has made him an especially valuable ambassador for the Wayland athletic program."
Under Feris, Wayland has been a force both in the NAIA and, since 1994, in the Sooner Athletic Conference. Since his arrival, WBU student-athletes have produced seven national championships and 10 national runner-up finishes.
Wayland is on track this year to record its highest-finish ever in the NAIA Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings, currently standing in sixth place in the competition which ranks institutions' success on the national level. Wayland's highest finish was ninth in 2012.
Not only that, but academically during Feris' tenure Wayland has produced more than 80 NAIA Scholar-Athletes and three NAIA Dr. Leroy Walker Champions of Character recipients.
And, Feris has received the Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year three times: 1999-2000, 2003-04 and 2012-13. He was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 2007 and into the WBU Hall of Honor in 2009.
Through the years, Feris has been instrumental in helping advance the Sooner Athletic Conference within the NAIA. He currently serves on the SAC Executive Committee and on the SAC Membership Committee. He is a former secretary of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and has served on that organization's executive committee. Currently, he is a member of the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup Committee.
"I count it a privilege to have been able to serve along with Dr. Feris during his time at Wayland," Lusk said. "There is no doubt that he will be missed. There is also no doubt that he will always be a huge fan of the student-athletes wearing blue and gold."
Feris will remain at Wayland through June and, if necessary, longer to assist with the transition to a new athletics director. He and his wife Glenda, a retired school teacher, plan to remain in Plainview. They have two children and four grandchildren.
"We will always be loyal to the blue and gold," Feris said, "and hope to be in the bleachers for many years to come."