September 5, 2011

Franklin Pierce Athletics to Add Sprint Football, Men's and Women's Track & Field/Men's Cross Country, and Women's Ice Hockey

All three programs scheduled to begin competition in the fall of 2012                               

RINDGE, N.H. (September 5, 2011) – Franklin Pierce University and its Department of Athletics announced on Monday the school will sponsor three new varsity intercollegiate sports including; sprint football, men’s and women’s track & field/men’s cross country, and women’s ice hockey. The announcement was made by University President Dr. James Birge and Vice President/Director of Athletics Bruce Kirsh. The announcement of sprint football was made in conjunction with the Collegiate Sprint Football League (CSFL). All three programs are scheduled to begin competition in the fall of 2012.

“This is a very exciting time for Franklin Pierce University,” said Dr. Birge. “Everyone associated with the University should be extremely proud of the work that has gone into developing this initiative. Through new academic and athletic initiatives Franklin Pierce will become more visible and, thus, will become an even more desirable ‘college of choice’ for undergraduate students. Many of our colleagues devoted a significant amount of time and energy into formulating different plans and goals that will help the University achieve great success in the near future.”

The University will immediately begin a search for a head coach for each of the three new programs. The three new coaches will spend the rest of the 2011-12 academic year on the road recruiting prospective student-athletes to field a full roster for the following season (the inaugural year of competition).

“The addition of these three new programs will allow Franklin Pierce to be marketed to a whole new demographic of students,” Kirsh said. “They will help to raise the visibility of the University. These three programs will join our current varsity teams as helping to bolster pride throughout the campus community.”

The addition of sprint football marks the first time the gridiron is coming to Rindge. Franklin Pierce will compete in the CSFL with seven other schools including; Army, Navy, Princeton, Pennsylvania, Cornell, Mansfield and Post. Sprint football features all the same standards as “heavyweight” football, except the weight limit is 172 pounds.

“I like the idea of student-athletes focusing on speed and agility rather than body weight and strength,” said Carleen Farrell, a member of the University’s Board of Trustees and a 1971 graduate of the University. “I (believe) that this has the potential of adding much to the University community in terms of tradition and spirit.”

Franklin Pierce will become just the fifth school in the state of New Hampshire to currently sponsor the sport of college football, joining Dartmouth, University of New Hampshire, Saint Anselm and Plymouth State.

“The Collegiate Sprint Football League is proud to welcome Franklin Pierce University,” said Steve Erber, Commissioner of the CSFL. “Franklin Pierce has a great athletic tradition and the league members are excited to have the school as a part of the CSFL.”

The men’s and women’s track & field programs will compete in the Northeast-10 Conference, allowing Franklin Pierce to compete in 20 of the 23 championships offered by the league. In addition to starting up track & field, Franklin Pierce will also reinstitute men’s cross country to join with the women’s cross country program in the fall season.

Women’s ice hockey is a growing sport at the high school level throughout the Northeast, and Franklin Pierce felt it was a natural fit to add the program to its varsity sports lineup. With a large number of females playing at the high school level, the University will now offer more opportunities for women to continue their hockey careers at the collegiate level.

The addition of three new varsity sports will join with several new academic initiatives offered by the University. Franklin Pierce will break ground on a new academic and athletic training center later this fall, as the new facility will be built as an extension to the existing Fieldhouse. The second floor of the 9,000 square foot center will feature various classrooms and offices for more one-on-one interaction between students and professors. The first floor will house the Department of Athletics Training Center, which will be used for the care and treatment of Raven student-athletes. Franklin Pierce has also made innovative changes to the general education curriculum, which will now focus on liberal learning in helping undergraduates prepare for the workforce in the 21st century.

For more information on each of the three new programs, and all other varsity sports at Franklin Pierce, please visit the department’s official website at http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu(.) To follow the programs even further, please visit Franklin Pierce Athletics on YouTube (www.youtube.com/FranklinPierceSports), Facebook (www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceAthletics) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/FPUathletics).

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