Franklin Pierce Athletics Announces Expansion & Enhancement of Women's Sports to its Varsity Lineup
Participation opportunities created for approximately 40 new female student-athletes
RINDGE, N.H. (May 10, 2013) -- Franklin Pierce University President Dr. James F. Birge and Director of Athletics Bruce Kirsh announced on Friday the institution will add the sports of women's golf and women's bowling to its varsity athletics lineup beginning in the 2014-15 school year. In addition to those new offerings, the University will also enhance the sport of women's rowing beginning in that same year.
With the addition of the two sports, and the enhancement of women's rowing, the University plans to create participation opportunities for approximately 40 new female student-athletes. Franklin Pierce will now feature 13 varsity athletic programs for female student-athletes as golf and bowling join existing programs including basketball, cross country, field hockey, ice hockey, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field and volleyball.
Franklin Pierce is reinstituting women's golf after sponsoring the sport 13 years ago. In the past 10 years, however, more than 80 other Division II institutions have added the sport of women's golf to raise the total to more than 170 competing schools.
Franklin Pierce becomes the fourth school in the Northeast-10 Conference to sponsor the sport, joining Le Moyne College, Merrimack College and Southern New Hampshire University, which announced the sponsorship of the sport two months ago. The NE-10 does not currently offer a women's golf championship as conference bylaws mandate that a minimum of six schools sponsor the sport. However, the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC), does offer a Division II/III championship tournament during the spring season.
Eleven (11) other Division II and Division III schools in the New England region offer the sport at the varsity level. Franklin Pierce joins Southern New Hampshire and Dartmouth as the three colleges in the state of New Hampshire to offer the sport at varsity status.
Since the NCAA officially offered a championship opportunity in the sport of women's bowling in 2004, the sport has grown at a rapid rate as 63 schools across all levels (Divisions I, II & III) sponsor the sport. The NCAA conducts a National Collegiate Championship in the sport, which means that Franklin Pierce would compete against schools from all three NCAA classifications if it were to advance to the national finals.
A significant number of the schools that sponsor the sport are located in Mid-Atlantic/Northeast corridor of the country, including in states such as Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Just as it does with women's golf, the ECAC offers a championship opportunity in bowling during the winter season for the Northeast schools.
The sport has seen interest and growth at the high school level, especially in New England where a pair of states, New Hampshire and Connecticut, have created high school state championships. The New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association (NHIAA) introduced a co-ed bowling championship in 2012 and currently 12 high schools throughout the state compete in the sport.
Franklin Pierce currently sponsors the sport of women's rowing as the program competes in several prestigious races throughout the Northeast, including the New England Rowing Championships and the Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia. By enhancing the program, Franklin Pierce will look to increase its roster size, thus providing more opportunities for female student-athletes.
Head Coach Jeff Allen will continue to lead the rowing program through its enhancement. Allen, who also serves as a professor of criminal justice at the school, guided the Ravens to an NCAA regional ranking in the spring of 2012.
Franklin Pierce will immediately begin a search for a full-time head coach for both the women's golf and bowling programs. The new golf hire will also serve as the head men's golf coach, beginning in the 2013-14 season. They will replace head coach Greg Scerbinski, who retired from the position following this past season. Scerbinski did an outstanding job leading the program during his four years, as he guided the Ravens to their first NCAA Championship appearance in program history in 2012. Both new hires will also serve the entire student population at the University, as they will have duties with the Campus Intramural, Club Sport and Recreation programs.
Franklin Pierce Athletics boasts a rich history of women's intercollegiate varsity sports. Some of the highlights of women's sports at the school include five NCAA Division II women's soccer national championships, three other NCAA title game appearances, three NCAA East Regional titles won by women's basketball from 2008-10, 31 all-time NCAA Division II Tournament appearances (including volleyball and women's basketball in 2012-13 season), 22 conference titles and six female student-athletes who have earned national player-of-the-year recognition in their respective sport.
For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the department's website at athletics.franklinpierce.edu(.) To follow the department even further, please visit Franklin Pierce Athletics on YouTube (www.youtube.com/FranklinPierceSports), Twitter (www.twitter.com/FPUathletics) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens).