WINGATE, N.C. – The Deep South Conference has added two new teams that will join the conference, starting in the 2012 season. Florida Tech and the University of Tampa will be members of the nine-team conference. This will be the first year of men’s lacrosse for both schools.
The Tampa Spartans will be coached by Rory Whipple, the former coach at fellow DSC school Florida Southern. Whipple also coached at Bryant University, starting the lacrosse program there. Tampa’s first lacrosse contest will be Feb. 10, when they open league play against Florida Southern at 7 p.m.
Florida Tech will be coached by Ryan McAleavey. He played collegiate lacrosse at Dowling University, and then signed a free agent contract with the New Jersey Pride. He has experience coaching on the high school, college and pro level. The first lacrosse contest for the Panthers will take place Feb. 14, when Florida Tech hosts Saint Leo at 7 p.m.
The league began in 1994 with Catawba, Greensboro, Limestone, Pfeiffer and Virginia Tech. The Deep South Conference is one of the oldest and most prestigious lacrosse leagues in the South. It is dedicated to the highest quality of competition and sportsmanship.
In 1997, the league grew to accommodate the additions of Wingate and Lees-McRae. With six teams, the Deep South Conference held its inaugural postseason tournament in 1997. In 1999, Mars Hill entered the Deep South Conference, increasing its membership to seven teams. Queens entered the league in 2004 to give the DSC eight teams. Belmont Abbey and Presbyterian joined in 2006.
Ten teams competed for the 2006 Deep South Conference title. An amazing five teams shared the 2006 DSC regular season championship. Three DSC teams have participated in the NCAA Division II tournament. The league owns two national titles. In the summer of 2006, the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference began sponsoring men’s lacrosse. Several former Deep South Conference members now compete what is now called Conference Carolinas.
The league is currently comprised of four colleges from North Carolina and five from Florida. Wingate University, Catawba College and Mars Hill College in North Carolina were joined by Lenoir-Rhyne University, who began its lacrosse program in 2011. Saint Leo University, Florida Southern College and Rollins College are the other Florida schools that make up the DSC.
Mars Hill won the 2011 DSC regular season title, while Catawba took home the DSC tournament championship. The 2012 season gets underway Feb. 9, when Mars Hill hosts Rollins at 4 p.m.
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