DENVER – The University of Denver men’s lacrosse team will move to the BIG EAST Conference for immediate competition for the 2014 season, it was announced today. Denver will join members Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s and Villanova, as well as Rutgers, who will remain with the league for one season.
“The invitation to join a collective group of universities with such a rich tradition of lacrosse support speaks volumes about the recognition our program has garnered on the national collegiate landscape,” said Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Recreation Peg Bradley-Doppes. “Additionally, the alignment with these institutions certainly fosters our belief in the academic enterprise as they are all considered among the finest in America.”
“In this ever-changing world of college athletic conferences and being only one of two Division I programs out west, the University of Denver lacrosse program must stay at the forefront of opportunities that best serve us, as we move into the future,” said head coach Bill Tierney. “The opportunity to align ourselves with some historically great lacrosse schools in a historically strong conference and to solidify the University of Denver’s annual opportunity to compete for an Automatic Qualifier for the NCAA tournament, has made this an easy move to make.”
“On behalf of the BIG EAST Conference I would like to welcome the University of Denver in the sport of men’s lacrosse,” said Georgetown Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Lee Reed. “Coach Tierney and Director Bradley-Doppes have done an incredible job building Denver lacrosse into a premiere program. The addition of a program fresh off consecutive Final Four appearances clearly makes us one of the strongest lacrosse leagues in the country. The combination of the teams from the BIG EAST with Denver as an affiliate member strengthens our brand in lacrosse.”
The Pioneers are leaving the Eastern College Athletic Conference, which they have been a part of since the 2010 season. During the four years in the ECAC, Denver has secured three Regular Season Titles and one Tournament Championship. The Pioneers have also made the NCAA Tournament four straight seasons, including two trips to Championship Weekend.
“We thank the ECAC, for the opportunity to participate and represent them in the last four NCAA tournaments, for running a great conference tournament the last three years, and for their support,” Tierney said. “We are extremely excited to be joining Georgetown, Villanova, St. John’s, Marquette and Providence in 2014, knowing what a great challenge they will present the young men on our team. We are thankful that the BIG EAST offered us this opportunity and look forward to competing with class and honor for its championship for many years to come.”
In four seasons, 14 Pioneers have been named First Team All-Conference, 11 have been named Second Team All-Conference, four to All-Rookie Team, one Offensive Player of the Year, one Defensive Player of the Year, two Rookies of the Year, one Specialist of the Year and two Coach of the Year awards.