Courtesy of Ashland University Athletic Communications
ASHLAND, Ohio -- Ashland University officials announced on Monday (Sept. 11) that its athletic department will add women's lacrosse and men's tennis as varsity intercollegiate sports, beginning with the 2018-19 school year.
"We have been evaluating the addition of these two sports for the past couple of years as part of our strategic plan to increase enrollment and continue to expand the geographic diversity of our student population," said Dr. Carlos Campo, President of Ashland University. "Ashland remains committed to maintaining a strong program of intercollegiate athletics marked by excellence and spiritual values."
AU Director of Athletics Al King said the addition of women's lacrosse and men's tennis will give Ashland 22 varsity intercollegiate sports teams at the start of the 2018-19 school year. All of these sports compete in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
"We are thrilled to add women's lacrosse and men's tennis to an already solid athletic department," King said. "Women's lacrosse is a rapidly growing sport across the country. In the last year it has shown tremendous growth in Ohio. We have a splendid tennis facility and that's one major step we have in place in building that program. We are going to be innovative and creative in growing these two programs. That process begins immediately."
This will be the first time Ashland has had a varsity women's lacrosse team. When it was Ashland College, the school had a lacrosse club from 1973 to 1980. Ashland also previously had a varsity men's lacrosse team, and one of its players, Richard Ferrari, is in the Ashland University Hall of Fame.
In the spring of 2019, the GLIAC will have eight member schools in women's lacrosse – Ashland, Davenport, Grand Valley State, Northern Michigan, Indianapolis (affiliate), McKendree (affiliate), Concordia-St. Paul (affiliate) and Upper Iowa (affiliate).
Ashland previously had varsity men's tennis for nearly three decades, starting in 1967, and boasts an Ashland University Hall of Fame member in Jack Keefe.
In 2018-19, the Eagles will join Davenport, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Northwood and Purdue Northwest as the GLIAC's seven men's tennis schools.