NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

February 15, 2013

UMass Lowell to join America East and elevate sports programs to Div. 1

(Continued)

The women’s field hockey team, which won a Division 2 national championship two years ago, could probably be a national contender immediately in Division 1.

Both of the men’s and women’s basketball head coaches, Greg Herenda and Sarah Behn, have not only elevated their respective programs nationally in Division 2, but they have Division 1 coaching experience and have applied at Division 1 schools as head coaches recently.

The baseball program has more than three decades of excellence in Division 2, which has continued under, Ken Harring.

Since joining the Northeast-10 Conference in 2000, UMass Lowell has garnered 59 conference titles, 104 post-season appearances in NCAA tournaments, 214 All-American Awards and 32 Academic All-American honors.

“I said it then and I still say it now, the Northeast-10 is the best Division 2 conference in the country,” said UMass Lowell Director of Athletics, Dana Skinner, who resides with his family in Haverhill.

“It allowed us allowed us to advance our mission and our programs,” said Skinner. “It was the right decision to join the conference in 2000 and it’s the right decision to join America East now.”

Skinner said that UMass Lowell currently has 17 intercollegiate sports. The university will be adding men’s and women’s lacrosse in 2014-15, giving 19. There is a reason lacrosse will be added.

According to Skinner, there are “sports of emphasis” in America East - soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter and lacrosse in the spring.

Skinner said the forward thinking of Meehan, which included several purchases and new construction on campus, no doubt was paramount in getting to yesterday’s decision.

“From the time he came here (in 2007), Marty set a bar that challenged everybody to pursue excellence, relentlessly,” said Skinner. “When you set a bar like that, you look at things a little bit differently. We would not be having this conversation had he not provided that leadership.

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