WESTON, Mass. - Regis, a Catholic University In Greater Boston, officially became the newest member of the GNAC (Great Northeast Athletic Conference) today, marking a new era of Regis Pride intercollegiate athletics.
The Pride becomes the 13th member of the GNAC whose member schools are Albertus Magnus College, Anna Maria College, Emmanuel College, Johnson & Wales University (RI), Lasell College, Mount Ida College, Norwich University, Rivier University, University of Saint Joseph, Saint Joseph's College (ME), Simmons College and Suffolk University. The GNAC will grow to 14 teams next summer with the addition of Colby-Sawyer College. Regis already competes in the GNAC in the sport of swimming and diving.
The timing is perfect for our move to The GNAC," said Pam Roecker, Regis Dean of Athletics. "Our coaches and student-athletes have established extremely competitive programs and are ready for this next level challenge. Membership in the GNAC provides access to additional NCAA tournament automatic bids, and gives our program a sense of pride in joining one of the largest Division III conferences in the country. Our central location, comprehensive athletic facilities, full time coaching staff model, tradition and quality academic programming have Regis positioned for success and we can't wait for the 2017-18 academic year to get started!"
With 14 NCAA automatic qualifiers, the nation has found GNAC teams to be formidable NCAA Tournament opponents. 2016 saw Saint Joseph's (ME) men's soccer and field hockey, along with Johnson & Wales (RI) softball, advance in the NCAA's. JWU men's basketball advanced to the Sweet 16 after wins against Trinity (CT) and Fitchburg State with Albertus Magnus advancing to the second round in 2015. This past season Suffolk baseball won of pair of games against nationally ranked opponents but were unable to advance out of the regional.
Regis will undoubtedly add to the GNAC's reputation as one of New England's most competitive conferences and development of new league rivals is sure to follow. Winning league titles and qualifying for postseason play will certainly be more challenging than in years past, but the benefits to the student-athlete and the University as a whole will be immense. Many Pride teams will now have an opportunity to vie for postseason play for the first time.
"Regis is going to be a successful member of the GNAC because of the school's excellent staff, top-notch facilities and overall commitment to academics and athletics," added GNAC Commissioner Joe Walsh. "The GNAC values these attributes greatly and I believe their teams will be competitive right away. We are very much excited to be working again with Pam Roecker and are welcoming her and her staff with open arms."
A big benefit Regis brings to the GNAC is a first-rate track and field facility which will serve as the host site for the inaugural GNAC Track and Field Championships to be held in the spring of 2018. "Our team is looking forward to hosting the GNAC championship this coming year," said Regis cross country and track and field coach Kourtney Bonsey. "We are thrilled to have this opportunity to bring such great competition to our home facility. Overall, the move to the GNAC will bring greater competition and better opportunities to the cross country and track and field programs."
Head coach Nate Hager, who has guided the Regis men's basketball program since its inception in 2007, also shares his excitement about the benefits as well as the challenges. "This is an exciting move not only for men's basketball but for all of our student-athletes," said Hager. "If you win the GNAC, history has shown that you can make noise in the NCAA tournament. I'm confident we'll bring a formidable level of competition and I know our program is looking forward to the challenge. I couldn't be happier to be joining the conference."
Regis is coming off its most successful season ever. The 2016-17 academic year featured eight conference team titles, the most in Regis Athletics history. For the second time Regis swept the Champions Cup Titles which marked the fifth straight year for the Pride women, while the men earned their second title over the past three years.