Huntingdon College (Ala.) Adding Men's Lacrosse

Montgomery, Ala. - Huntingdon College President J. Cameron West announced at a news conference held on campus today that the College will add men's lacrosse and women's track and field to the list of intercollegiate athletic teams offered by the College. The programs will begin in the 20112012 academic year.

West said he anticipates women's lacrosse and men's track and field will follow in the 20122013 academic year. The College's athletic program is a member of the NCAA Division III and offers women's basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball; and men's baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, and tennis.

"After looking at a number of possibilities, we chose these two sports to grow our athletic offerings further," said West. "Like most Division III schools, our student body is highly participatory, meaning that most of our students are involved in one or more activities they are passionate about outside their majors--whether in athletics, arts, leadership, service, ministries, or other opportunities.

"Statistically, lacrosse and track will bring in new groups of students who are passionate about participating in those sports, but who are also well-prepared academically. We have found that Division III student-athletes are focused both on the field, court, or course and in the classroom. Those are the types of students who do well at Huntingdon."

Athletic Director Buzz Phillips added that the sport of lacrosse is showing growing popularity in Alabama, and track and field is a natural extension of the athletic program, which added cross country two years ago and has already garnered conference championships on both the men's and women's sides of the sport.

"Both teams will be independent. There are about 20 colleges and universities within comfortable driving distance against whom we could compete in lacrosse, and about 30 sponsored track and field meets offered in the region," said Phillips.

"There are eight high schools that offer men's lacrosse in Alabama, but the sport has shown an explosion of interest and popularity in Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina." Huntingdon will be one of only two colleges in the state to offer intercollegiate lacrosse. Lacrosse is a spring sport, while track and field's season is from January to May.

Phillips introduced Andrew Carey, a native of Salisbury, Maryland, and a graduate of Greensboro College (N.C.), as head coach of the new men's lacrosse team. Carey has most recently served as assistant coach for Greensboro College.

"Given the year-round warm weather, the beautiful campus, the caliber of the Huntingdon academic program, the College's placement rates, and the growing popularity of lacrosse in the South, I am confident that we can recruit a strong team of men who will come to Huntingdon not only from the Southeast, but also from the Northeast and East Coast regions, where lacrosse is particularly popular," said Carey.

Huntingdon's men's and women's cross country coach, Nate Rucker, will also coach the track and field program, said Phillips. Rucker was selected as Coach of the Year for cross country in the Great South Athletic Conference last year, and has led two teams to conference championships in the programs' young history.

"I look forward to building this program from the field up, so to speak," said Rucker. "I feel lucky to have been able to build the cross country program and to see such success so early in the sport's life at Huntingdon. I am asked about whether the College has a track and field program all the time when I'm out recruiting-I'm glad I'll finally be able to say yes."

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2010-08-17



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