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The aviation and sports departments at the University of Central Arkansas have new leaders



Conway, Arkansas – At the University of Central Arkansas, two programs are getting new leadership. Dr. Brad Teague will take over as director of the UCA Aviation Academy after leaving his position as director of athletics.

Since the program’s launch in November, Teague has been acting director. He is currently making history as the UCA Aviation Academy’s first director.

With effect from July 1, 2024, Teague will be replaced as director of athletics by Matt Whiting, associate athletic director for external relations at UCA.

Before this, Dr. Brad Teague stated in a news statement that Matt Whiting is a superb fit for the position of athletic director. His professionalism and experience are ideal for a smooth transition.
After serving as Delta State University’s athletic director, Teague joined Conway in 2007.

“When a position came open he (UCA President) called and asked if I’d be interested to come to Conway be the UCA AD, UCA was transitioning to division one and they already announced that so that was very enticing,” Teague said.

It took four years to move to Division One. Teague said that it was a procedure.

“We’ve got a lot to do a lot to prepare a lot of upgrades to be done to be division one and so that was the first big undertaking,” Teague said. “Then it became what can we do to make sure we’re doing everything we can for our student-athletes for our coaches to give them the resources and tools necessary to be successful, so that’s really kind of been my mindset for the 17 years.”

Teague aimed to create an outstanding experience for the coaches, student-athletes, benefactors, and fans.

A news release from UCA stated that he added 19 sports to the athletic department, won multiple titles, significantly upgraded the facilities, and raised the academic standards in athletics.

“I’ve been an athletic director for 21 years, so I don’t know if it’s sent in yet that I will no longer be that, but I’m excited that I’ll be directing this new program, this new opportunity at UCA it’s very exciting,” Teague said.

Teague has always been fascinated in piolets, as many of his family members are. He followed that desire while serving as the AD at Delta State University.

“They have an aviation program at Delta State, and I just said, ‘ I’m going to do it. Let’s go for it and see where it goes. ‘ So, I went and got my private pilot license, which everyone does to start,’ Teague said.

He eventually put in over 20 years and 1500 hours of flight time to acquire his multi-engine rating and commercial license.

“I just love it and it certainly helps me when prospecting our students and be able to talk that language, have those experiences, and talk to them about it and so that’s been very beneficial for me,” Teague said.

For some time, UCA has considered launching an aviation program, but Teague stated that the requirement for a 4-year degree program made it “never really fit.”

“When the demand for pilots became so significant that commercial airlines said we no longer require a four-year degree, we just need pilots, the lightbulb went off for Dr. Houston Davis to say, well, maybe there’s a different way we can do this,” Teague said.

At that point, Teague got involved. The school collaborated with Central Flying Services, a Little Rock-based business, whose instructors were in charge of the UCA aviation program.

“What I love is that I can be sitting in Conway in two hours later, I can be 400 miles away, and that’s what aviation can do for you, and I just love that opportunity,” Teague said.

When asked about the new change, Teague said, “I am excited that it is different. You know, I have been the athletic Director for 21 years, and certainly, things and athletics change daily, and then we saw that now in the national landscape of the NCAA, so that is exciting.”

Teague also conveyed his enthusiasm for the interest in the initiative. “I’m thrilled to see such a high level of interest. We can accept 15 people at a time, and there are currently over 350 people waiting to join our program,” he stated.
The Conway Municipal Airport at Cantrell Field and the City of Conway collaborate with UCA to enable the program.

“We are very fortunate to have a great airport,” Teague said. “We’re proud that we have that facility here in town and our students are excited about having a great airport to be able to train.”

In the College of Business, ground classes started in March with a first cohort of fifteen students. Their course lasts for around a month and meets three nights a week. Following that, students sit for a written exam, which they pass to immediately begin their two- to three-month flight training.

“UCA will build a new hanger with office and classroom space out at Conway airport, and so all the operations will be there for flights and so we’re thrilled about it,” Teague said.

The UCA hanger is scheduled for completion by mid-autumn.
Teague will continue to teach in the master’s degree in sports administration and serve as senior advisor for athletics.



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