DANBURY, Conn. - Western Connecticut State University will be adding NCAA men's and women's cross country, men's golf and men's swimming and diving as Division III varsity intercollegiate programs and will play a full schedule in the fall of 2018-19, announced Director of Athletics Lori R. Mazza today. The addition of these four programs brings WestConn's varsity athletics sponsorship up to 18 programs and is the first expansion since the University re-established the field hockey program in 2005.
"We are very excited about the expansion of our department," added Mazza. "The offerings selected reflect the interest within our region and our ongoing commitment to recruit student-athletes with added opportunities for students who want to be a part of their collegiate experience.
The university is in the process of designing a cross country course on the school's Westside campus. Additionally, to establish a home golf course, discussions between WestConn administrators and managers of several public and private courses are ongoing.
The men's swimming and diving team will compete in the O'Neill Center Natatorium in conjunction with the women's program. Jill Cook has been the head coach of the women's program for the past 18 seasons and intends to take the helm of the men's program next season. The swim season for both typically runs from October to February.
Mazza and the university will immediately begin efforts to hire part-time head coaches for the men's and women's cross country and men's golf programs.
Mazza noted that The Little East Conference (LEC) sponsors championships for men's and women's cross country with the possibility of men's golf, pending LEC approval. Additionally, the WestConn men's swimming and diving program will initially compete as an independent while seeking a more permanent conference affiliation.
Dr. Keith Betts, Vice President for the Division of Student Affairs, stated, "Working with AD Lori Mazza and our athletic coaching staff to expand the 'footprint' of student-athletes at our institution is very exciting for all of the university's constituents. Additionally, this expansion will also bolster our recruiting efforts not only within Connecticut, but also throughout New York and New Jersey as students from these states can now qualify for the significantly lower Connecticut in-state tuition."