Elon to affiliate with Atlantic Sun for women's lacrosse
Elon women’s lacrosse team will begin competition in spring 2014 as an affiliate member of the NCAA Division I Atlantic Sun Conference.
The announcement was made by Dave Blank, Elon’s director of athletics, on June 27.
“We are appreciative of the members of the Atlantic Sun Conference for their interest in having Elon University join them for women’s lacrosse competition,” Blank said. “As we begin our new program, an affiliation with Atlantic Sun members will give us immediate credibility as a Division I lacrosse program. We are anxious to get started.”
“We get fired up every time we can announce expanded competitive opportunities for student-athletes,” said Atlantic Sun Commissioner Ted Gumbart. “Women’s lacrosse continues to grow in the south, and we are pleased and proud to welcome two outstanding university programs to A-Sun Lacrosse. Elon University and Furman University will both be outstanding affiliate members and we look forward to the contributions their women’s lacrosse teams will bring to the conference.”
Elon University’s Board of Trustees approved the addition of women’s lacrosse as a varsity sport on March 20. Josh Hexter, who served eight years as assistant coach of the Duke University women’s lacrosse team, including the last three as associate head coach, was selected as the Phoenix's first head coach on April 28.
“We are excited to become an affiliate of the Atlantic Sun in women’s lacrosse, joining schools that maintain high standards in academic and athletic achievement,” Hexter said. “This is a great step forward for Elon’s program and will help us be successful for years to come.”
Atlantic Sun members Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University and Stetson University field women’s lacrosse teams, and they will be joined by new affiliate members University of Detroit Mercy and Howard University in 2013. A-Sun member Mercer University begins women's lacrosse competition in 2014. The A-Sun joins the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big South Conference as sponsors of the sport in the Southeast.
The Atlantic Sun Conference is headquartered in Macon, Ga., and includes 10 member institutions in six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. In addition to those schools playing lacrosse, the Atlantic Sun includes Belmont University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Lipscomb University, University of North Florida and the University of South Carolina Upstate.
Elon University competes in NCAA Division I as a member of the Southern Conference. In addition to the new women’s lacrosse program, Elon offers 16 other intercollegiate sports, including nine women’s teams (cross country, softball, basketball, golf, soccer, tennis, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field and volleyball) and seven men’s teams (baseball, cross country, football, basketball, golf, soccer and tennis).