September 25, 2012

University of the District of Columbia Announces the Addition of Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse Programs for Competition in Spring of 2014

WASHINGTON, DC University of the District of Columbia President, Allen Sessoms, and Director of Athletics, Patricia Thomas, announce that the university will add men's and women's lacrosse to its current Division II sports offerings.

University President, Allen Sessoms had this to say about adding men's and women's lacrosse, "The University of the District of Columbia is elevating its profile nationally and locally, and athletics is a large part of the university's vision. After our first full year in the East Coast Conference, the addition of lacrosse exhibits our significant commitment to sports sponsorship criteria and to the conference. Adding men's and women's lacrosse will not only enable us to recruit quality student-athletes from the region and nationally, but it will also allow us to continue to build on the recent successes in athletics. It is an exciting time to be a Firebird!"

Director of Athletics, Patricia Thomas had this to say about the addition of men's and women's lacrosse, "We are thrilled to add men's and women's lacrosse as we continue to build the University of the District of Columbia Athletic Department and the Firebird brand. Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the United States at the youth and high school levels. The Washington, DC, metropolitan area is a hotbed for lacrosse, with Baltimore and Philadelphia not too far away. We feel like we can be competitive fairly quickly, and we look forward to establishing something very special with the addition of lacrosse. The East Coast Conference has a rich history of lacrosse, and we look forward to competing and becoming part of that tradition."   

The Firebirds are an NCAA Division II member institution, competing in the East Coast Conference. The university recently announced plans to add a Women's Swimming program. Lacrosse will be the fifth men's program offered at the University of the District of Columbia, as well as the eighth women's sport. The University of the District of Columbia currently sponsors 10 intercollegiate programs including: men's and women's basketball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's cross country, men's soccer, women's volleyball, and women's indoor and outdoor track. With the addition of men's and women's lacrosse, as well as women's swimming, the Firebirds will sponsor a total of 13 athletic programs. 

The search committee will begin the process of hiring a head men's and women's coach immediately to give the respective coaching staffs adequate time to recruit student-athletes for the inaugural season in 2013-2014.

East Coast Conference Commissioner, Bob Dranoff, had this to say about the Firebirds entering the lacrosse ranks, "The East Coast Conference is very excited with the prospect of the University of the District of Columbia bringing on the sports of Men's and Women's lacrosse. Our conference has enjoyed significant success in these two sports on a regional and national level for many years. The current Division II national champions, LIU Post (Women) and Dowling (Men) are both charter members of the ECC. We strongly believe that the addition of lacrosse at the University of the District of Columbia will not only be a great plus for the Firebird athletic program and  the ECC but for Division II lacrosse as well."

The University of the District of Columbia is located in the nation's capital on Connecticut Avenue, NW, just a mile and half north of the National Zoo. Located at the UDC/ Van Ness Metro station, the university has immediate access to all that the nation's capital has to offer. The University of the District of Columbia is the nation's only urban land grant institution of higher education. As such, it supports a broad mission of education, research and community service and offers bachelors and masters degrees in the College of Arts and Science; School of Business and Public Administration; School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; and College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Studies. Also included in the university system is the David A. Clarke School of Law. The University of the District of Columbia strives to be a diverse, selective, teaching, research and service university in the land-grant tradition, serving the people of Washington, DC, the nation and the world.