Lenoir-Rhyne University Vice President for Athletics Kim Pate has announced the addition of College Bass Fishing as a club sport beginning in fall 2021. There are currently around 600 bass fishing teams in the United States, and Lenoir-Rhyne is the latest addition.
“Bass fishing is a terrific fit for Lenoir-Rhyne,” noted Pate. “With our proximity to Lake Hickory and North Carolina being a fishing hot-spot, the bass fishing program will be a great addition to our competitive club sport offerings at LR.”
Pate tabbed Brian Travis as the first head coach in program history. Travis has been fishing professionally and traveling all over the United States to compete in professional events since 2008. His tournament fishing goes back to when he was a boy, winning a tournament at the age of 10.
Travis graduated in May 2000 from Catawba College with a Bachelor of Arts in business with a concentration in management.
In 2007, the road to becoming a professional angler was becoming a reality. Qualifying and winning The Bass Federation (TBF) Southern Divisional, he was on his way to fish the TBF Nationals. Brian won the Nationals in 2008, and the door was finally open for him to follow his dream. His professional career started with one of the biggest tournaments in professional fishing, the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup. Finishing eighth in his first professional tournament proved that he could compete with the best anglers in the world.
“I am honored and blessed to have this opportunity to coach and bring the sport of bass fishing to LR and the city of Hickory,” said Travis. “Bass fishing is near-and-dear to my heart, and I’m looking forward to great things ahead.”
To get the program started, the Bears have partnered with Tri County Marine and Vexus Boats. Tri County Marine is located in Granite Falls, North Carolina, and has served the community’s boat sales and repair needs since 1969. Tri County Marine owner Mike Carr said, “We are excited about this partnership with Lenoir-Rhyne University and the opportunities this will create for young anglers for many years to come. Vexus boat company’s revolutionary approach to the bass boat industry continues to impress me, and this is just one more step to ensure bass fishing reaches young generations.”
“We are extremely thankful for Dee Hubbard and Mike Carr who were instrumental in helping to forge the partnership with Tri County Marine and Vexus Boats to help us get bass fishing off the ground and help set our program apart from our competitors,” said Pate.