PAWTUCKT, R.I. – The Little East Conference (LEC) will celebrate its 30th Anniversary of NCAA athletic competition by releasing 30 top LEC moments in its history and honor 30 of the league’s most influential members since the league’s inception in 1986.
Each week, beginning on September 16th, the conference office will recognize and celebrate the historical contributions of the league’s student-athletes, coaches, and administrators along with releasing “Top-Moments” in LEC History and first-person video insights from current and former Athletic Directors throughout the entire 2016-17 academic year. The LEC will also incorporate 30th Anniversary giveaways for all student-athletes, administrators and fans.
All of the culminating information released during the year can be found online at www.LittleEast.com/LEC30 and all of the LEC social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram as well as in our live-game webcasts and broadcasts.
The Little East Conference was established on April 28, 1986 as a single sport (Basketball) league by six public institutions located throughout the New England region. The newly formed LEC men’s and women’s basketball teams commenced play in 1986-87 with a double round-robin regular season and a six-team championship tournament.
The LEC’s “Original Six” included, Eastern Connecticut State University, University of Massachusetts Boston, Southeastern Massachusetts University (UMass Dartmouth), Plymouth State University, Rhode Island College and the University of Southern Maine. Today, the Little East Conference is comprised on eight public institutions, adding Western Connecticut State University in 1993-94 and Keene State College in 1997-98.
Over the last 30 years, LEC member institutions have had enormous success across all sports. Led by one of the greatest baseball coaches in the New England region, Bill Holowaty, Eastern Connecticut State captured four Baseball National Championships. University of Southern Maine’s Peyton Dostie achieved National Champion status in 2015, winning the NCAA Pentathlon Championship for Indoor Track & Field. The UMass Boston’s women’s volleyball team has won the LEC Volleyball Tournament in six of the last seven years under the leadership of head coach Terry Condon. Plymouth State’s women’s soccer team reached the NCAA Tournament every year from 1986-1994, including five trips to the NCAA Final Four. UMass Dartmouth has had 11 Individual National Champions in Track & Field, Diving, Cross Country and Golf since 1977.
Western Connecticut State’s softball advanced to the Division III National Championships in 2002 and its women’s soccer team appeared in the Division III National Finals during the fall of 2007. Edward Cummins won the 2016 National Championship in the Hammer Throw, finishing first among a field of 20 competitors with a throw of 62.19m. Keene State has maintained its athletic dominance, winning the LEC’s Commissioner’s Cup, the league’s highest athletic honors for 16th straight year in 2016.
The historic competitive success the LEC has achieved throughout the 30 years, beginning as a basketball only conference in 1986 and expanding into today’s 19-Championship Sport Conference, will continue to make academic and athletic strides as the LEC continues to be the premier Division III conference of the New England region.
The Little East Conference was formed in 1986 when six public institutions gathered to create a single sport athletic conference and has expanded into what is now New England’s premier athletic conference for public institutions in NCAA Division III. The LEC features 19 Championship Sports and sponsors quality competition in every season for our student athletes while following the Division III mission of passion, responsibility, sportsmanship and citizenship.