STEUBENVILLE –Franciscan University of Steubenville today announced that the Board of Trustees has approved the addition of women’s golf and the return of the Franciscan University baseball program. A national search for head coaches for each team will begin immediately and continue until the positions are filled.
“Our student interest surveys and the nature of sports interest in the Ohio Valley tell us this is a slam dunk move for our Athletic Department as we continue to provide more competitive opportunities for our student-athletes,” said Mike Holmes, director of Athletics. “The addition of these teams will give more student-athletes access to our unique brand of athletics, as we do our part to support the long-term mission of the University.”
Women’s golf will begin competition in the fall of 2019, while baseball will compete beginning in the spring of 2020. The coaches will spend the 2018-19 athletic year recruiting and scheduling for the upcoming seasons.
The Baron baseball team will once again occupy Vaccaro Field on the campus of Franciscan University. The Athletic Department is in discussions with the Steubenville Country Club to use its fairways and greens for practice for the women’s golf team.
The two additions bring the number of varsity athletic teams at Franciscan to 18. At the NCAA Division III level, 385 schools currently sponsor baseball while 213 schools offer women’s golf. With the introduction of Franciscan’s program, all 11 Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) member schools will now offer baseball. The women’s golf team will compete as an independent in its inaugural season as it seeks an affiliate conference.
Baseball returns to the campus of Franciscan after the program was discontinued following the 2011 season. Baseball was one of the original varsity sports at Franciscan from the 1950s -1980s and one of the original varsity teams in 2006, when Franciscan entered the NCAA Division III as provisional members.
Women’s golf is the third women’s sport to be added since Franciscan became full members of the NCAA. Women’s swimming and diving was added in the fall of 2011, and women’s lacrosse began competition in the spring of 2013.
Franciscan’s Board of Trustees approved the reinstatement of intercollegiate athletics at the University beginning with the 2005-06 athletic season. Franciscan University reached full-fledged NCAA Division III member status in the fall of 2011.
The Baron rugby team competes as a part of USA Rugby and is in the Three Rivers Rugby Conference. Eleven of Franciscan’s current NCAA varsity sports compete in the AMCC; men’s and women’s track and field compete as an affiliate member of the Colonial States Athletic Conference. This spring, the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams will begin competition as affiliates in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference.
Currently, 250 student-athletes compete for Franciscan in men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s rugby, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field, and women’s volleyball.