September 20, 2012

Illinois Wesleyan Adding Men's, Women's Programs

from press releases

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - Illinois Wesleyan University has announced that it will add the intercollegiate sport of lacrosse with a men's team beginning competition in the spring of 2014 and the women's team opening the following spring.

"Lacrosse is the fastest-growing sport in the Midwest and is an emerging sport among College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin schools," said IWU athletic director Dennie Bridges. "Offering lacrosse gives a significant number of high school students another reason to consider attending Illinois Wesleyan."

Bridges indicates that a search for a men's lacrosse coach will begin immediately with a similar search for a women's coach scheduled to begin next spring. Lacrosse home games will be played at Tucci Stadium.

Currently, four CCIW schools - Augustana, Carthage, Elmhurst and North Central - offer lacrosse for men or women or both genders.

The number of high school lacrosse players more than doubled in the last decade and 21 states now host championships, including Illinois, effective last year.

Illinois Wesleyan currently sponsors 20 varsity sports.

When will IWU begin to compete in lacrosse?
The men's team will begin varsity play in the spring of 2014. The women's team will begin in the spring of 2015.
If you are a high school athlete with interest in attending Illinois Wesleyan and playing lacrosse, visit the IWU Admissions Web Site or email the Admissions Office.

Who will coach at IWU?
A men's coach will be hired later in the fall of 2012. The women's coach will be hired in the spring of 2013. Inquiries regarding the open coaching positions should be directed to IWU athletic director Dennie Bridges.

Where will the team play?
Home lacrosse competitions will be at Tucci Stadium.

Is this a College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin sport?
It is on track to be soon. Currently Augustana, Carthage, and North Central compete in women's lacrosse; Augustana, Carthage and Elmhurst compete in Men's Lacrosse.

The addition of Illinois Wesleyan lacrosse reaches the threshold of four conference teams, which will allow the CCIW to add this sport.

The lacrosse teams at CCIW schools currently play in the Midwest Lacrosse Conference. Current members are Augustana, Aurora, Beloit, Benedictine, Carthage, Fontbonne, Mt. Saint Joseph and North Central. Dubuque and Loras will begin play in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

As the conference affiliation unfolds in the next couple years, IWU will compete against many of these schools.

How will lacrosse fit in with other sports at IWU?
Illinois Wesleyan University has been a leader in Division III athletics for many years, including numerous final-four appearances, six national championships, and 113 Academic All-American athletes. IWU provides an ideal environment in which strong student athletes excel, and we look forward to continuing our tradition of excellence with lacrosse.

How big will the teams be?
Typically, women's squads have about 20 to 30 players and the men's teams are 40 to 45.

Why lacrosse?
Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the United States, and it is gaining new players fastest in the Midwest, especially among 14- to 16-year-old student athletes.

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