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Campus News

Waynesburg takes the lead in VR training

Yellow Jackets gain cutting edge training tool

Bobby Fox Jun 1, 2023

The Waynesburg University Department of Athletics has been blessed to provide its hundreds of student-athletes with a bevy of improvements and expansions over the past five years. The ever-lengthening list of upgrades includes top-of-the-line video boards at both John F. Wiley Stadium and the Rudy Marisa Fieldhouse, a new movable fence and pitcher’s mound at the baseball/softball facility, the construction of one of, if not the top Esports arena in the region and sweeping improvements to the school’s locker room facilities.

As great as those physical changes to the sports landscape have been, Waynesburg’s latest addition to its long list of training tools is not only unique across the entirety of collegiate athletics, but it allows the Yellow Jackets to travel far beyond the borders of campus.

In the first months of 2023, a generous monetary gift was presented by an anonymous donor to provide Waynesburg University with not one, but 25 virtual reality headsets that allow student-athletes in soccer, baseball, softball, football, tennis and golf to train at an elite level, regardless of weather conditions.

“The original thought for virtual reality headsets for athletic training came from a conversation with baseball coach Perry Cunningham,” said Vice President for Enrollment Management, Athletics, Facilities and Strategic Initiatives Adam Jack. “His two sons received VR headsets and a subscription to WIN Reality for virtual baseball training, and he explained how far they had come and how important it was for their progress.”

That conversation led to Waynesburg Athletics beginning its journey into virtual reality with a pair of VR headsets that could be used by baseball and softball to enhance their training efforts, especially during the colder months of Fall and Winter that kept the programs off the diamond. However, Jack saw a multitude of potential uses for the technology and reached out to the anonymous donor to add a small number of additional units. He was overwhelmed by the incredible response that provided the Orange and Black with a stockpile of headsets that puts Waynesburg well ahead of much larger institutions across the country.

“I went to one of our generous donors and explained what we hoped to do with the entire athletic department,” Jack said. “At that time, the donor purchased 25 additional sets, for a total of 27, putting us far ahead of most, if not all other institutions out there in terms of athletics virtual reality training.”

Interim head men’s and women’s tennis coach Dr. L. Randy Pettit is a big believer in the benefits of year-round training for Yellow Jacket athletes.

Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams are excited for the opportunity to get some work in during the offseason,” Pettit said. “We are extremely grateful for the generous donation to enhance the experience that our student-athletes will have with this new technology.” 

Jack also sees the headsets as a benefit for students in the surrounding communities that are looking to offer their students expanded training and learning opportunities.

“I do think that some of our benefits here are going to help out some of the local high schools,” Jack said. “I know that West Greene is looking into utilizing programs for baseball, softball and football in the future. We are excited to partner with local school districts and look forward to what the future holds.”