ESPN Regional Television, Inc., a subsidiary of ESPN, announced today the creation of the ESPNU Warrior Classic, a doubleheader that will be played Saturday, April 24, at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn. The doubleheader will feature No. 17 Denver vs. Fairfield at 11 a.m. ET, followed by No. 18 Massachusetts vs. No. 13 Georgetown at 1:30 p.m. Both games will be televised live on ESPNU.
“We jumped at the opportunity to partner with ESPNU for the inaugural ESPNU Warrior Classic,” said Dave Morrow, President, Warrior. “ESPN’s commitment to lacrosse is making the sport accessible to more players and fans than ever, and this event is an extension of our shared passion for grassroots events and competition. It will be very exciting for lacrosse enthusiasts to have four elite programs, the worldwide leader in sports media and the premier lacrosse brand team up for the first ever Warrior Classic.”
“We are excited to launch a collegiate lacrosse event with ESPNU and Warrior Lacrosse,” said Clint Overby, senior director of events, ESPN Regional Television. “We look forward to growing the event as a fixture in the collegiate lacrosse landscape.”
Massachusetts won the East Coast Athletic Conference championship last season before falling to Princeton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Minutemen, who finished the season with a 9-6 record, are leaving the ECAC this year for the Colonial Athletic Association. In the ESPNU Warrior Classic, UMass faces former ECAC rival Georgetown, which is also joining a new conference, the BIG EAST. The Hoyas finished with a 7-7 record last season.
Fairfield posted a 7-6 record in 2009, its first winning campaign since 2006. The Stags will face ECAC rival Denver in the ESPNU Warrior Classic. Fairfield won three of five meetings when the two teams were part of the Great Western Lacrosse League from 2001-05. Denver welcomes new head coach Bill Tierney, who won six NCAA titles in 22 seasons at Princeton. The Pioneers were 7-8 in 2009.
“We’re very excited to be invited to play in the first annual ESPNU Warrior Classic,” said Dave Urick, Georgetown head coach. “This is a tremendous opportunity for the sport of lacrosse to have increased exposure in the Northeast, and this field brings together some very talented teams. ESPNU has provided great television exposure for the sport of lacrosse and this event shows their commitment to the sport.”
“The Denver Pioneers are thrilled to be a part of the inaugural ESPNU Warrior Classic,” said Bill Tierney, Denver head coach. “To play alongside such prestigious programs as Georgetown and UMass and compete in an important ECAC matchup with Fairfield is an honor for our team. We are trying to create excitement about lacrosse in Colorado and in the West, and this event will certainly help us spread the good news about the University of Denver and our lacrosse program. ESPN has been so instrumental in the visibility and rising popularity of college lacrosse, through its coverage of the NCAA Tournament and regular-season telecasts.”
“We are very excited to be a part of the ESPNU Warrior Classic,” said Greg Cannella, Massachusetts head coach. “We are looking forward to playing one of our former ECAC rivals, Georgetown. When these two teams get together and play, it is always exciting and fast, the way college lacrosse should be played. We look forward to the opportunity and thank ESPN for putting the event together.”
“We’re thrilled about the opportunity to play in the ESPNU Warrior Classic,” said Andy Copelan, Fairfield head coach. “Having a nationally televised lacrosse doubleheader featuring four great teams at Rentschler Field is great for the development of our sport in this region. We thank ESPN and everyone involved for putting this together and we are looking forward to a great day of college lacrosse.”