This fall, a new team will join the Bears on the field: Women’s lacrosse was officially added to NYIT’s intercollegiate athletics department as of June 3, 2016. The Bears will begin competition in the 2016–17 academic year as an NCAA Division II member of the East Coast Conference.
"Today we celebrate the addition of women's lacrosse to our Bears athletics family," said NYIT Director of Athletics Duane Bailey. "This exciting sport allows NYIT to expand women’s athletics opportunities at the Division II level. Women's lacrosse continues to grow in popularity and participation here in the northeast and throughout the country. We are confident that Bears fans will enthusiastically support our new team as we build the program over the next several years."
Women's lacrosse is played in the spring and will share field time at President's Stadium with the men's lacrosse program. With the addition of the team, the number of intercollegiate athletics programs at NYIT now numbers 13 (six men's and seven women's programs, plus cheerleading).
Bailey also announced that Kerri Handras has been hired as the team’s head coach, effective June 13. She will be responsible for all aspects of building and directing the lacrosse program, including recruiting quality student-athletes and providing fundamental and advanced instruction in lacrosse techniques.
"I want to thank Director of Athletics Duane Bailey and his staff for giving me the opportunity to start the women's lacrosse program at NYIT," said Handras. "I am ready for the challenge and confident that the team has the potential to be both nationally and regionally competitive."
Handras comes from East Coast Conference member Dowling College, where she spent nine years as head coach of the women's lacrosse program and 11 at the helm of the nationally competitive women's soccer team. In her tenure with the Golden Lions, she produced eight Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) All-Americans, 23 IWLCA All-Region players, 59 East Coast Conference (ECC) selections and seven ECC Players of the Year.
There are currently 116 schools that offer women's lacrosse at the Division II level, including eight in the East Coast Conference—LIU Post, Mercy, Molloy, St. Thomas Aquinas, Roberts Wesleyan, Queens (N.Y.), Bridgeport, and the District of Columbia.
For more about the team and Coach Handras, visit nyit.edu/athletics.
By Julie Godsoe