August 5, 2010

Florida Tech to Add Men for 2012 Season

from press release

– On the heels of Florida Tech's announcement that it intends to add a football program, University President Anthony J. Catanese has announced that the face of Panther Athletics will be changing once again. For the first time since 2003, the athletic department will expand its list of varsity sports with the addition of five more teams in the immediate future.

"Florida Tech is committed to offering students a wide range of athletic opportunities, which is why I am pleased to announce the addition of men's and women's track and field, men's lacrosse, and men's and women's swimming and diving to our slate of collegiate varsity athletic programs," said President Catanese. "We are excited to be entering this growth period and looking forward to bringing the community on campus to be a part of it."

Beginning in the spring of 2011, Florida Tech will compete in both men's and women's track and field, led by head cross country coach Pete Mazzone. Initially, the athletic department will work with local programs and facilities in the use of their sites for practices and competition. With the addition, Tech becomes just the fourth institution in the Sunshine State Conference to sponsor the sport, joining Florida Southern College, Nova Southeastern University and the University of Tampa.

"This will be an expansion of our cross country program into track and field," said Florida Tech Athletic Director Bill Jurgens. "This is something we've been talking about for the past few years. Now that many Division II schools have started programs, it's a natural progression for us to start this spring. It's a sport that we anticipate athletes from other teams within our athletic program would be interested in competing in as well. A great number of our student-athletes have a track and field background, so this makes perfect sense."

Also on the horizon for the Panthers is the installation of a men's lacrosse program in 2011-12. The athletic department will start its official search for a head coach immediately with the intent to bring someone in to complete a year of recruiting before the first official practice in fall 2011. Lacrosse is played as a spring sport with the team beginning competition in February of 2012.

"We're excited about the opportunity to add men's lacrosse to the athletics program at Florida Tech," stated Jurgens. "It is the fastest growing NCAA sport and is creating some exciting competitive opportunities among Division II schools. With the addition of men's lacrosse, we anticipate that women's lacrosse will not be too far behind as competition within the state continues to develop. I look forward to hiring a coach in the very near future who can build a strong, competitive men's lacrosse program that will excel at the national level."

The SSC currently has three teams sponsoring men's lacrosse, including Florida Southern, Rollins College and Saint Leo University. League regulations stipulate that at least five schools must offer a sport for the presidents to vote it in as a conference sponsored sport.

Finally, with the design and construction of a new swimming facility on campus in the works, Florida Tech will field men's and women's swimming and diving teams in 2011-12. A nation-wide search for a head coaching candidate will commence later this fall in order to allow for a year of recruiting before competition begins during the winter season of 2011-12.

The Panthers will be the sixth conference school to add the sport as the SSC looks to host its inaugural swimming and diving championships this winter. The other five schools hitting the pool are Florida Southern, Rollins, Saint Leo, Tampa and Nova Southeastern which begins its first year of competition this year.

"The new competitive pool on campus will be a great asset to the University and to those student-athletes desiring to compete at a high level," Jurgens added. "We're excited about having a swimming and diving program and a quality facility on campus. We will be able to attract top swimmers across the country who are looking for a strong academic program."

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