SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Board of Directors is pleased to announce that the CCC will begin to oversee football as a championship sport beginning in 2017. The CCC will assume operation of a renamed New England Football Conference (NEFC).
The addition of football will increase the number of championship sports overseen by the CCC to 17 and, with the recent addition of men's hockey for 2016-17, becomes the third new championship sport to be offered by the CCC in a five-year period, as the Conference previously added men's golf in 2013-14.
"As the CCC Chair, I am delighted that we are adding football as well as men's hockey as varsity sports.' stated Dr. Zorica Pantić, President of Wentworth Institute of Technology and Chair of the CCC Board of Directors. "The addition of these sports will make our conference even stronger."
Currently, six institutions are expected to compete for the CCC football championship and the right to earn automatic qualification to the NCAA Division III football championship. As the renamed NEFC, CCC Football will enter a two-year grace period (2017-18 and 2018-19) during which it will seek to add an additional football-playing member in order to restore the conference to the NCAA-required level of seven members needed to maintain the Conference's automatic qualification to the NCAA championship.
Current CCC football-playing institutions include Curry College, Endicott College, Nichols College, Salve Regina University and Western New England University. Those five institutions will welcome fellow CCC member University of New England as the Conference's sixth football program when UNE begins playing a full varsity schedule in 2018, following one season of sub-varsity competition in 2017.
"I am proud to announce that the sport of football will become the 17th championship to be administered by the Commonwealth Coast Conference," stated CCC Commissioner Gregg M. Kaye. "I am confident that the proud tradition that CCC institutions have helped build in the New England Football Conference will continue to grow as football moves under the CCC umbrella. Coupled with the recent addition of men's ice hockey, I am very proud to state that the CCC becomes just the second Division III multi-sport conference in New England comprised entirely of private colleges and universities to oversee championships in men's ice hockey and football. Our growth is a direct result of leadership at the conference level exhibited by the presidents at each of our member institutions, each of whom considers intercollegiate athletics to play a vitally important role in the undergraduate experience. Football student-athletes at CCC institutions will be able to enjoy the same competitive and championship experiences as past generations of CCC student-athletes."
The five current CCC football-playing institutions have combined to make nine NCAA Division III football postseason appearances. Curry tops all CCC football programs with six NCAA tournament appearances (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008). Endicott has advanced to NCAA championship play twice (2010, 2013), while Western New England has earned one NCAA postseason berth (2011).
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
"Curry College is pleased to have our Football and Ice Hockey programs join the expanded Commonwealth Coast Conference. The addition of both football and ice hockey to the CCC strengthens the conference, and provides our student-athletes outstanding opportunities for athletic competition against like-minded institutions within the multi-sport conference." – Kenneth K. Quigley, President, Curry College
"The founding colleges and universities of the Commonwealth Coast Conference have worked with conviction and commitment to build a strong multi-sport conference that provides consistently a challenging and competitive environment for its athletes. The entire Conference welcomes football to its array of championship sports beginning in 2017." – Dr. Anthony S. Caprio, President, Western New England University
"The Commonwealth Coast Conference has made great strides over the past few years. The upcoming expansion reflects a true commitment from conference leadership and member school presidents to CCC athletic programs and student athletes. It's exciting to add football and ice hockey under the multi-sport CCC umbrella." – Vinnie Eruzione, Director of Athletics, Curry College
"Nichols College could not be more excited about playing football in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. In a changing Division III football landscape, we believe this move will enhance our football brand while also increasing the exposure for the whole conference in all sports." – Chris Colvin, Director of Athletics, Nichols College
"As a former Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) student-athlete and now administrator, today's announcement regarding the addition of football brings me a great sense of pride. By adding football into the CCC, it further demonstrates the commitment of our presidents to strengthen our brand as a true multi-sport conference. The CCC football teams have witnessed great success through the years within the classroom and on the field. The strength and past successes of our CCC football programs will continue to bring regional and national recognition to our institutions and positively enhance the brand of the Commonwealth Coast Conference."– Kelly Scafariello, Acting Director of Athletics, Salve Regina University
"Western New England University is very excited with the recent announcement of Men's Ice Hockey and now Football being added to the Commonwealth Coast Conference multi-sport conference offerings. The addition of CCC Football truly demonstrates the commitment by the conference to offer a diversified portfolio of sports, which will enhance and strengthen our conferences brand throughout the region. "– Joe Sassi, Senior Associate Director of Athletics, Western New England University
"It is with great expectations that Curry Football becomes a member of the newly-formed Commonwealth Coast Football Conference. We welcome new friends and competitors, and are glad that some of our oldest rivals will be part of the league. We embrace the challenge before us as we begin a new era for the Colonels while carrying on the great tradition of Curry Football, both on the field and in the classroom." – Skip Bandini, Head Coach, Curry College
"The NEFC was a conference that was extremely competitive and it is exciting to see the core of the conference will be transferring over to the CCC. This tells us that the CCC will be an exciting conference to watch year in and year out. " -- Kevin Gilmartin, Head Coach, Salve Regina University