First year Athletic Director Daron Montgomery held a press conference Tuesday morning announcing the addition of a new sport being offered at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
"I am pleased to announce that UWSP will be competing as an inaugural member of the WIAC’s newly formed beer pong league," said Montgomery. "After days of deliberation, my colleagues and I have decided that participating in the WIAC’s newest sport was too lucrative an offer to pass up."
The announcement comes a week after the WIAC made the decision to make beer pong an officially sanctioned sport.
"Statistically speaking the UW-System has more non-student athletes than student-athletes," said WIAC Commissioner Gary Karner. "We felt as though we weren’t providing enough opportunities for those students to succeed athletically."
UWSP will be joined by UW-Stout, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Platteville, and UW-Eau Claire next year as the initial members of the league. UW-River Falls, UW-Superior, and UW-Whitewater have not yet made a decision whether they would participate or not.
"It’s a great opportunity," said Montgomery. "Not many people know what it feels like to succeed on a grand stage, and since our students are probably going to hate life once they graduate we felt this would be a perfect opportunity for them to do something meaningful."
The beer pong program will reportedly have an annual budget of $250,000, most of which will be spent on beer and team uniforms.
"We are currently reviewing offers from high profile companies such as Nike and Solo regarding equipment rights," said Sports Information Director Mitch Capelle.
When asked if the university would agree on a hometown discount with Point Brewery to be the team’s official beer provider, Capelle said the university was still fielding offers from other companies but he did not rule out an exclusive deal with the local brewery.
Montgomery also said during his press conference that the university has chosen a coach for the upcoming season, UWSP alum Richie Garrett. In his eight years as a Pointer Garrett racked up a career record of 983-7 during house parties and informal holiday tournaments. The 43-year-old brings a wealth of knowledge to the program that he accumulated during his 30 years of organized play, both here and overseas.
"When we decided we wanted to join the league some friends of the program immediately brought Richie to my attention," said Montgomery. "It took us a while to find him, but once we did he seemed like he was all in."
"I was definitely excited to come back to Point and coach pong," said Garrett during a phone interview. "When the program finally got in touch with me I was in a bit of a transitional phase in my life. This opportunity was just the thing I needed to get myself back on track."
The university has faced quite a bit of scrutiny regarding the hiring due to Garrett’s colorful history. A rumor had arisen when word was leaked that Garrett would be hired that when the athletic department finally tracked him down he was at a brothel in Bangladesh. Garrett vehemently denied the allegations.
"I have heard the claims that you speak of and I can tell you now that they are a complete fabrication. The building that I had taken residency in was a former brothel, and I was away on business when AD Montgomery made his initial attempts to contact me."
The "business" that Garrett was allegedly away on has also been met with suspicion. According to sources, Garrett is well known in that area as the leader of a criminal organization specializing in the supply of illegal fireworks and synthetic opium. Even more peculiar was the fact that when UWSP officials finally found him he was eating at a Hardees in Marrakech.
"I know I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my life, but I’ve grown from every experience," said Garrett. "I may not be the straight-laced guy that people want associated with the program, but the school came to me for a reason. If there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s play beer pong."
An assistant coach has yet to be hired but word is the early favorite is Rabbi Adam Goldberg. Goldberg is the most respected rabbi in the Chicago area and has performed over 2,000 circumcisions. No one is quite sure how that will help kids play beer pong.
Coach Garrett will be holding open tryouts beginning Monday April 2 at 5 p.m. in the MAC.
"Not everyone can play this game, it takes a special talent. And I don’t like the term ‘open tryouts’ because that makes it sound like everyone can come. Everyone can’t come. If you’ve ever said the phrase, "I’m so good at beer pong, I’ve never lost a game," you definitely can’t come because you’re probably full of shit," Garrett said. "I don’t want any sissies, lightweights, or table bumpers out here. And the answer is no, this isn’t a gentleman’s game."
A complete rulebook had yet to be drafted, however Commissioner Karner said there had been progress made.
"There will be a standard 10-cup, two-ball format to each match. There will be absolutely no celeb-shots, that is something myself and the other members of the conference had strongly stressed. Other than that we are leaning towards allowing schools to implement house rules regarding re-racks and fingering/ blowing.
"This is a very exciting time for us," said Montgomery. "It is my firm belief that a beer pong team will be nothing short of an overwhelming success for this institution."
When asked if he thought the drinking culture of Wisconsin coupled with the implementation of a beer pong league would only increase the negative stigma against the UW-System, Montgomery simply said, "Sucks to suck."
When asked to elaborate Montgomery tweeted, "#SorryNotSorry."