BANNER ELK, N.C. - Lees-McRae College Athletic Director Craig McPhail has announced a new partnership with DeFeet that will make the Bobcat cycling team the first collegiate cycling testing program in the country for the sock and apparel company.
Lees-McRae, a traditionally strong cycling program in Banner Elk, N.C., has become partners with the leading cycling sock manufacturer in the world, DeFeet, to help create the vision of this cycling campus. DeFeet is located in Hildebran N.C. only 45 minutes from the college's campus.
"While, meeting with Shane Cooper--DeFeet Founder and President--I knew we could work to help further promote both of our brands at a high level," McPhail said. "His passion for the area, love for cycling and this special college gave me hopes for something like this. We will look at this partnership as we build our team and program to the level upon which will be recognized as the number one collegiate cycling program in the country."
"We are really excited to be partners with DeFeet," head cycling coach Luke Winger said. "They were our biggest supporters last year and make an excellent product. They provided us with special equipment before, but this is exciting to be an official collegiate test team."
Lees-McRae's new president, Dr. Barry M. Buxton has established a goal to make the Lees-McRae cycling program the number one in the nation. He intends to create the first minor degree in Bicycling Studies and draw cyclists from around the world.
"My goal is to ultimately have 150 cyclists enrolled at Lees-McRae," Buxton said. "We plan to continue to win national championships, but we also want to prepare our graduates to assume positions of leadership in the business world of bicycling. The response thus far to the minor in Bicycling Studies has been extremely positive. Our new Bicycling Advisory Council will support their effort and strengthen our objective of strong ties between Lees-McRae and the corporate world. I am pleased that Shane Cooper and DeFeet are leading the way with this new partnership."
"We have been fortunate to have such great riders come through the program and graduate from the college, and now to have the opportunity to look at internships, sponsorships and finding ways to grow cycling in the United States, we felt it was the time to begin working together,"McPhail said. "This has so much potential."