Lesley University Athletics will soon have a larger pool of teams to compete against as the newest member of the North Atlantic Conference (NAC).
President Janet L. Steinmayer, Dean of Students Nathaniel Mays and Director of Athletics Stephanie Smyrl announced the news through a joint statement to the university community on Tuesday.
“We are thrilled to be one of the newest members to join the NAC, says Smyrl. “The NAC membership embodies what it truly means to be a DIII student-athlete, which is success both in the classroom and on the field. The Lesley athletic staff and student-athletes already feel extremely welcomed.”
Our teams will begin competing in the NAC in fall 2023. Lesley will remain a core member of the New England Collegiate Conference Division III through the 2022-23 athletic season.
By joining the NAC, Lesley athletes will benefit from the conference’s larger-size schools and the league’s greater stability. Founded in 1997, the NAC has grown steadily over the last four years. With the simultaneous addition of Lesley and SUNY Morrisville, the member schools total 14.
“NAC’s mission and core values are very closely aligned with those of Lesley Athletics, including our shared commitments to academic excellence, sportsmanship, diversity, equity and inclusion, and the health and well-being of student-athletes, coaches and staff,” read Tuesday’s joint statement.
As the NAC grows, it also gives our athletic department the opportunity to expand with the potential to add teams such as men’s and women’s lacrosse to our existing 16 varsity sports.
Becoming part of a new conference aligns with the university’s three-year plan to grow and strengthen our athletics. This year as our 140 student-athletes returned to campus, they were greeted with new buses and professional drivers to transport players to all of their practices and games.
Additionally, the university has hired full-time coaches in most sports and plans to add to that roster in the coming seasons. Building strong partnerships will remain key for Lesley as an urban university, and leadership is exploring opportunities to improve facilities that we already use as well as to secure new fields and courts where our teams can play and practice.