Staff Spotlight: Rita Higginbotham

Pedro AcevedoRita Higginbotham

Sports Editor

Rita Higginbotham, also known as Coach Rita, is currently the director for intramural sports.

Originally from Macon, Miss., she holds a degree in physical education from the University of West Alabama. She was recognized as staff member of the year in 2012.

Q: How long have you been at the W? How did you get to become the director for intramural sports?

A: “I’ve been at the W for 32 years. I started as a coach for basketball and softball. I then coached softball for about 22 years until the tornado came through in 2002, and the athletic program was dropped. That’s when I decided to go for strictly intramural activities.”

Q: What made you choose this line of work?

A: “I’ve always had a passion for collegiate sports and recreation, and I love to help students succeed in them.”

Q: What do you enjoy the most about the intramural program you run?

A: “The intramural program is one of the best ways to get involved and meet new people. An athletic program might not be for everyone, but in intramurals we try to set up just for fun, even though it is competitive. You might not earn an athletic scholarship, but you might win a T-shirt, and you will socialize and play with people that also like sports. And you get to be physically fit.”

Q: So there is a competitive side to the program?

A: “Yes, but we try to stress the importance of having fun.”

Q: How do you feel about the possibility of an athletic program coming back to the university?

A: “It could be great, if we have the budget to do so. A lot of people don’t realize how much it costs to run an athletic program. It can be very, very expensive, and that is probably my biggest concern. Do we really have the budget to put into it to do it the correct way? If you don’t do it the correct way then you are kind of getting coaches that are not top quality. Running the program is an expensive process. Also, if it happens, what do you have for the rest of the student body? Do they just watch? Campus recreation would have to stay the way it is for the rest of the students.”