Big South Adds Monmouth University as Associate Football Member

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (www.BigSouthSports.com) - The Big South Conference has added Monmouth University as an associate member in football, it was announced today by Big South Commissioner Kyle B. Kallander.  Monmouth will begin competing in the Big South in 2014 and will be eligible for the League's championship and automatic bid to the FCS Playoffs upon entry.  Monmouth will host a press conference on Friday, Feb. 15 at 1:00pm to formally announce the move.

"The Big South Conference is excited to expand our football membership with the addition of Monmouth University," said Kallander.  "It is clear that Monmouth is committed to athletic excellence at the FCS level, which matches its impressive academic and institutional profile.  Monmouth will be a great fit in the Big South.  We are very pleased to welcome the Hawks!"

The addition of Monmouth will return the Big South to seven Division I Football Championship Subdivision members in 2014, joining Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, Gardner-Webb, Liberty, Presbyterian College and VMI.  The Hawks' associate membership is for four years and returns the Conference to the New Jersey-New York metropolitan area following the departure of former associate member Stony Brook.  Monmouth, which has competed at the FCS level as a member of the Northeast Conference (NEC) since 1996, will make the necessary upgrades to meet the requirements of being a full scholarship FCS program in 2014.  The Hawks will compete as an Independent in 2013 and will play at Liberty on Sept. 7.

Monmouth, which began playing football in 1993, won five NEC championships (1996, 1998, 2003, 2004 and 2006) and went 5-5 last year with a 4-3 mark in league play.  Among the Hawks' notable wins in recent seasons include victories over Villanova in 2011 and Old Dominion in 2009.  Monmouth is coached by Kevin Callahan, the only coach in the school's football history.  He begins his 21st season in 2013 ranks 15th among active FCS coaches with 114 wins.  The Hawks, which began giving athletic scholarships in football in 2006, have had five All-Americans, more than 120 All-Conference honorees, 13 Player of the Year award winners and Callahan has been named conference Coach of the Year three times. Monmouth has had three 10-win seasons, the last coming in 2006.

"Monmouth is very excited that the Big South has extended an invitation to us as an associate member in football," stated Monmouth Vice President and Director of Athletics Dr. Marilyn McNeil.  "We see this move as a huge opportunity for the Hawks.  We look forward to the future which will hold some new and exciting competitors, enhanced recruiting, and a focus on football excellence."

"This is an exciting day for Monmouth football," added Callahan.  "Membership in the Big South is another significant achievement in the history of the program.  The direction that we are heading is extremely positive and I am excited about competing with all of our new conference members.  The Big South is a conference that sent two programs to the NCAA Division I FCS Playoffs in 2012 and this is an important milestone for the Monmouth University Football program."



With the rest of Monmouth's Division I programs joining the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (which does not sponsor football) in the fall of 2013, MU began searching for a football league which matched its commitment to the sport.  Monmouth has sent a number players to the professional ranks, including three current Hawks in the National Football League (Dallas Cowboy Miles Austin, Buffalo Bill Chris Hogan and Kansas City Chief Jose Gumbs).

In the classroom, Monmouth football has had 13 straight seasons with an Academic All-District selection.  Current Hawk Andrew Sutton is a two-time FCS ADA Academic All-Star and a finalist for its postgraduate award.  This past fall the team's grade point average just missed a 3.0, finishing with a 2.99 GPA.  Monmouth football players are no strangers to community service, most recently collaborating with Team IMPACT -- an organization that enhances the lives of children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses by matching them with college athletic teams.

The Big South Conference, which is 2-0 all-time against Monmouth on the gridiron, is coming off its 11th season of football in 2012 and arguably its most successful campaign to date.  The Conference had two teams qualify for the FCS Playoffs for the first time since receiving an automatic bid in 2010 and picked up two wins in the postseason.  The League had the runner-up for the Walter Payton Award in Stony Brook's Miguel Maysonet and notched its third-ever victory over an FBS member.  Big South members have defeated three FBS schools in two of the last three years and have made five combined FCS Playoff appearances (3-5 record), while the League has had a nationally-ranked program at some point of the season every year since football began in 2002.  In addition, the Big South has had six NFL draft picks (all since 2007) and this past season had an exclusive "Game of the Week" on ESPN3 every week of the Conference season for the first time.

ABOUT MONMOUTH UNIVERSITY
Monmouth is a private, mid-sized, coeducational, comprehensive University founded in 1933.  It serves residential and commuter students in eight schools and is less than a mile from the Atlantic Ocean on the Jersey Shore in West Long Branch, New Jersey.  The 156-acre campus features 54 buildings, including historic landmarks and state-of-the-art facilities.

Location:West Long Branch, N.J.
Enrollment:6,000
Founded:1933
Colors:Midnight Blue and White
Nickname:Hawks
President:Vice Admiral Paul G. Gaffney II
Vice President and Director of Athletics:Dr. Marilyn McNeil
Senior Woman Adminstrator:Rachelle Paul
Faculty Athletics Representative:Dr. Richard Veit
First Year of Football:1993
All-Time Record:114-91 (20 seasons)
Postseason Appearances:none
Home Field:Kessler Field (4,600)
Surface:FieldTurf
Assistant AD/Communications & New Media:Greg Viscomi
Athletic Department Phone:732-571-3415
Athletic Department Fax:732-571-3535
Website:www.gomuhawks.com
Twitter Feed:@MUHawksFB