Dec. 5, 2012
NORFOLK, Va. - The Old Dominion University field hockey program will join the BIG EAST Conference as an associate member on July 1, 2013, as announced on Wednesday by athletic director Dr. Wood Selig.
“We are grateful to BIG EAST commissioner Mike Aresco, associate commissioner Jim Siedliski and the BIG EAST membership for inviting us to join an elite group of academic institutions and provide our field hockey student-athletes with a high level of competition,” said Selig. “There is no question that the success of our field hockey program over the last 30 years with nine NCAA titles and 15 conference titles as a CAA member will add value to the BIG EAST’s success and national recognition. The BIG EAST, in turn, will enhance ODU’s opportunity to qualify and advance in the NCAA tournament.”
The addition of Old Dominion provides the BIG EAST with eight field hockey members and an automatic qualifier for the league champion to the NCAA tournament. Member schools include Louisville, Rutgers, Connecticut, Georgetown, Temple, Providence and Villanova. Syracuse, who advanced to this year’s national semifinals, will depart the BIG EAST this year to join the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“Old Dominion is an excellent addition to the BIG EAST for field hockey," said Aresco. "They will help BIG EAST field hockey maintain its elite, national status."
Old Dominion University announced in May that it would join Conference USA effective July 1, 2013. The sport of field hockey is not offered as a C-USA championship sport, along with wrestling and women’s lacrosse. ODU announced in September that the wrestling program will join the Mid- American Conference as an associate member in 2013.
Old Dominion University has competed as a field hockey member of the CAA since 1992, winning the regular season title 14 times and tournament title 15 times. This past fall the Lady Monarchs posted a perfect 7-0 record in the conference, however like other ODU teams they were not eligible to compete for the CAA tournament championship due to ODU’s announcement to join Conference USA. The Lady Monarchs earned an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament and advanced to the quarterfinals, falling to NCAA runner-up North Carolina.
The BIG EAST has claimed two NCAA titles, both by Connecticut, in 1981 and 1985. Member schools have made 30 appearances in the NCAA championship tournament, nine since 2008 and a BIG EAST team has advanced to the national semifinals seven times.
ODU hosted the NCAA Division I national championship on Nov. 16 and 18 this year, and will host the tournament again next year on Nov. 22 and 24. Next year’s event will also include the championship games of Division II and III, in addition to the Division I final on Sunday, Nov. 24.
Old Dominion head coach Beth Anders retired at the end of the 2012 season as the winningest all-time coach in Division I with 561wins over 30 seasons with the Lady Monarchs. Under her leadership, ODU advanced to the NCAA tournament a record 30 times, 17 times to the championship round, and the nine NCAA titles also remains an NCAA record by one school. The University is currently conducting a national search for Anders’ replacement.