The University of Texas at Dallas to Add Men’s Baseball and Women’s Softball to Its Roster of Athletic Teams

The University of Texas at Dallas is adding men’s baseball and women’s softball to the athletic teams it will sponsor in the 2001-2002 academic year. The move will give UT Dallas a total of 12 sports, in addition to the more cerebral forms of competition, such as chess, debate and creative problem solving, for which the school is nationally known.

UT Dallas does not field a football team, a situation that in Texas is rare, if not unprecedented, for a university of 12,000 students. But it competes vigorously in men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, tennis, cross-country and golf. The men’s and women’s soccer teams experienced the greatest success during the 2000-2001 school year, finishing their seasons 13-5 and 13-4-1, respectively.

The addition of men’s baseball and women’s softball will help UT Dallas meet the criteria for active status in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). UT Dallas has been a provisional member of the NCAA since 1998, and after four years in that capacity, the university will be eligible for active status. As a result, upon the completion of the 2001-2002 academic year, teams from UT Dallas will be eligible for playoff opportunities in both the American Southwest Conference and the NCAA at the Division III level.

The men’s baseball team and the women’s softball team will play some scrimmages, or exhibition games, beginning in September, but those games won’t count in the standings. UT Dallas will play its first regular season baseball game on Feb. 13 against Texas Wesleyan University on the new field on the UT Dallas campus. The school’s first women’s softball game will be played on Feb. 16 against Texas Lutheran University, also on a new field on the UT Dallas campus. The two teams will be competing in the American Southwest Conference.

“We are really excited about the addition of men’s baseball and women’s softball and the prospect of becoming a full-fledged member of the NCAA,” said UT Dallas Athletic Director Mary Walters.

Shane Shewmake was hired recently to serve as UT Dallas’ first head baseball coach. Shewmake has spent the last three and a half years serving as the assistant baseball coach at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas. Prior to that, Shewmake served as the head baseball coach at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas.

Shewmake played college baseball at Eastfield College, Hardin-Simmons University and Arkansas State University.

UT Dallas hired Tricia Polhert to serve as its first head softball coach. Polhert previously served as the head softball coach for Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas. While at Schreiner, Polhert’s team won a conference championship.

Polhert played college softball at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. She was a 1st Team All-Missouri Valley Conference player and was also named to the Missouri Valley All-Tournament Team.

About UT Dallas

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls about 7,000 undergraduate and 5,000 graduate students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UT Dallas, please visit the university’s Web site at

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].