ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – Forget football or basketball, Milligan College is adding a new sports in the outdoors.
Starting Fall 2020, it will have a competitive fly fishing team and right now, the college is actively recruiting for the team.
According to college officials, Milligan will be the first college in the area to offer fly fishing scholarships for incoming students.
Team Director Zack Nave, who also is the head coach for Milligan’s cyclist and triathlon teams, told News Channel 11’s Blake Lipton he has already had interest from prospective members.
“As of right now, we are wide open,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of contact already with people so it’s been cool.”
The team will compete in regional and national competitions.
“Cherokee, North Carolina has several and that’s the starting spot for us, it’s close, the events are good,” said Nave, “then we’ll move from there to doing some of the events that Pennsylvania has.”
The competitive fly fishing team will also be active with the local Overmountain Trout Unlimited chapter.
“We’re excited, not only about the competition part of it, but teaching them about the intricacies of fly-fishing, as well as some conservation initiatives we’ll be taking on as a part of the club and really think it will be a value added experience for students at Milligan,” said Vice President of Athletics and Student Development Mark Fox.
With both the South Holston River, which contains an average of 85-hundred trout per mile, and the Watuaga River, located just minutes from campus, Fox said it was an easy decision to create a team.
“When you put those things together and then the opportunity to draw more students and retain more students and add value to their experience,” he said, “it just made it a natural thing when you consider the resources available to us near by.”
Nave said he will be meeting with prospective students as early as this Friday to discuss opportunities with the team.
A spokesperson for Milligan said scholarships given to team members will vary based on skill level and experience.