Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/3/13
From Press Release
Saint Joseph’s University has accepted an invitation for its men’s lacrosse program to join the Northeast Conference as an associate member, beginning with the upcoming 2014 season.
SJU will join Bryant University, Mount St. Mary’s University, Robert Morris University, Sacred Heart University, Wagner College, and fellow new member Hobart College in the NEC.
The Hawks will leave the Colonial Athletic Association after three years as an associate member.
“The NEC is a conference committed to academic and athletic excellence and it has demonstrated the commitment to building a premier lacrosse conference,” said SJU head coach Taylor Wray, who recently completed his second season with the Hawks. “It is clear to me that lacrosse is a priority sport for the NEC and we are excited to be a part of it. We believe this is a great fit for Saint Joseph’s and a great move for our program.”
“The excitement around NEC men’s lacrosse has heightened even more with the addition of Saint Joseph’s University as an associate member,” said NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris. “The leadership of the Hawks administration and coaching staff have demonstrated a strong commitment to building a successful men’s lacrosse program both on and off the field, and we are thrilled to welcome them to the NEC family.”
“The changing landscape of college athletics and conference realignment created this opportunity to join the NEC, providing an option that suits our long-term interests and positions us for future success,” said Saint Joseph’s director of athletics Don DiJulia. “We are extremely excited to join the NEC and to compete with these fine institutions as we continue to grow our men’s lacrosse program.”
The Saint Joseph’s men’s lacrosse team has made considerable improvement in the past two seasons under Wray, totaling more wins in two years than in the previous three seasons combined.
Among the highlights thus far have been a historic win over Towson in 2012 and a victory in 2013 over defending CAA champion Massachusetts. Freshman Pat Swanick was named to the 2013 CAA All-Rookie team to become the first men’s lacrosse player in the program’s history to earn CAA postseason honors.
This past season, Saint Joseph’s celebrated the 20th anniversary of the sponsorship of men’s lacrosse as a varsity sport. The Hawks had competed as a member of the MAAC for 14 seasons and then after making a refocused commitment to the program, joined the CAA in 2011.
Saint Joseph’s is a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference in every other sport, with the exception of men’s rowing.
The NEC announced the addition of men’s lacrosse in the spring of 2008 and official sponsorship began in 2011 with Mount St. Mary’s crowned the league’s inaugural champion. Since that time, the Conference has enjoyed success in the sport both on and off the field.
Several of its members have appeared in the national rankings since 2011, including two-time defending NEC champion Bryant, which ended the 2013 season ranked No. 20 in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Division I Media Poll. This past May, the Bulldogs became the first NEC program to earn an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
In the classroom, NEC lacrosse teams combined to place 75 student-athletes on the NEC Academic Honor Roll and 17 on the prestigious NEC Commissioner’s Honor Roll with GPAs of 3.75 or higher during the 2012-13 academic year.
Tags: St. Joseph's University