CHARLOTTE, N.C. (www.BigSouthSports.com) - The Big South Conference Council of Chief Executives has approved the addition of women's lacrosse as a championship sport in the League starting with the 2012-13 academic year, it was announced today by Big South Commissioner Kyle B. Kallander. Women's lacrosse is one of the nation's fastest growing collegiate sports and becomes the 19th championship sport sponsored by the Big South.
The Big South will have six member institutions with women's lacrosse programs when play begins in the spring of 2013 - Campbell, Coastal Carolina, High Point, Liberty, Presbyterian College and Winthrop. Of those six, three already compete in the sport at the Division I level - High Point, Liberty and Presbyterian College. Campbell, Coastal Carolina and Winthrop will debut their respective women's lacrosse programs in 2013. Women's lacrosse, the first sport added by the Big South since football in 2002, will also count in the Conference's Sasser Cup and All-Sports standings.
"The Big South Conference is pleased to offer championship and postseason opportunities to the women's lacrosse student-athletes at our member institutions," said Kallander. "Women's lacrosse is growing at an incredible pace, and we are pleased to be contributing to its popularity. We look forward to the inaugural 2013 season and competing on a national level."
With six initial members, the Big South is immediately eligible to apply for an automatic bid to the NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship, beginning with the 2013 season. The Big South will begin the process of determining scheduling, championship format and award recognitions, among others, leading up to the inaugural 2013 campaign.
High Point played its first women's lacrosse season this past year, and the Panthers finished with a 15-4 record - the most wins in history for a first-year NCAA Division I program. High Point also won the National Lacrosse Conference Tournament championship and featured the Conference's Coach of the Year in Lyndsey Boswell and Player of the Year in Grace Gaeng. Liberty's program completed its second season in 2011 and went 7-11 overall - which marked a six-win improvement over its inaugural campaign. Presbyterian College has fielded a Division I women's lacrosse team since 2008 and has improved on its victory total every season. PC recently named Julie Redman as its new head coach.
Coastal Carolina first announced its addition of women's lacrosse on May 7, 2010 as its 18th sport. The Chanticleers are planning to hire a head coach at the start of the 2011-12 academic year, followed by an assistant coach during the school year. On Nov. 24, 2010, Winthrop announced it would field a women's lacrosse program to bring its sports sponsorship to 18, and two weeks ago hired John Sung as its first head coach. Campbell, which is officially re-joining the Big South on July 1, announced on May 5 that it would begin sponsoring women's lacrosse in 2013, which would be the school's 21st varsity sport.