March 1, 2000

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The BIG EAST Conference will add women’s lacrosse as its 20th sport, Commissioner Michael Tranghese announced. Competition will begin in the spring of 2001. Approval for the addition was made unanimously by the 14 directors of athletics.

“Women’s lacrosse is a growing sport within the NCAA,” said Tranghese. “We have schools with quality programs and those instiutions want to compete under the BIG EAST banner.”

The seven conference schools that will participate are Boston College, Connecticut, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Syracuse and Virginia Tech. The teams will play a six-game regular season round robin schedule. The BIG EAST will apply for an automatic bid to the NCAA championship. Five of the six teams are part of Notre Dame’s schedule in 2000.

Fourth-year Irish head coach Tracy Coyne, who led seven teams to conference championships in nine seasons before coming to Notre Dame, has been a driving force among the coaching community for the inclusion of women’s lacrosse under the BIG EAST Conference umbrella. Joining the other 18 Irish teams that compete in the BIG EAST Conference offers great opportunities not only for the Notre Dame program, but for all of collegiate women’s lacrosse.

“When I arrived at Notre Dame after competing in a conference for so long, I pushed to organize the conference and explain the benefits of BIG EAST affiliation. With the recent decision to progress towards conference automatic bids for the NCAA championships and the success of the member schools, the BIG EAST women’s lacrosse coaches recognized the importance of a BIG EAST women’s lacrosse conference.

“At the same time, it is gratifying to know that the BIG EAST recognized the value of an emerging sport like women’s lacrosse becoming part of the conference.

“We now will have opportunity to compete in a quality all-sports conference and develop conference rivalries. Our teams will receive more media attention and publicity associated with playing BIG EAST games.

“I expect the BIG EAST to become a very influential conference on the national level, particularly with the success a number of the teams have had already and the support that the newer programs receive. We can be as powerful as any other lacrosse conference.

“I am glad that our student-athletes will have the opportunity to compete for a conference title and a potential automatic bid into the NCAA championships. More individual awards and recognition also will be available to our student-athletes as part of a conference.

“Notre Dame is an institution that takes great pride in being a member of the BIG EAST Conference and the success of the conference. Our women’s lacrosse team is excited to have a chance to contribute to that success.”