RICHMOND, Va. – UNCW athletics will soon have a new in-state rival as Elon University has accepted an invitation to join the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) beginning July 1, 2014, CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager announced Thursday.
“On behalf of the presidents, I want to express my great excitement that Elon has accepted our invitation to join the CAA in the 2014-15 academic year and to welcome President Lambert and the Phoenix family to the conference,” UNCW Chancellor Gary L. Miller, chairman of the CAA Council of Presidents, said.
“Elon brings the excellent academic and athletic reputation that is the hallmark of the conference. Having Elon with us will deepen long-standing rivalries, create new competitive opportunities and support the important geographic footprint of the conference,” Miller said.
Elon University is a selective, independent university renowned as a national model for engaged learning with faculty dedicated to excellent teaching. The school’s 6,000 students come from 48 states, the District of Columbia and 48 other nations.
Nearly 50 percent are from mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states, with about 25 percent from North Carolina. Elon Phoenix athletics includes 17 intercollegiate men’s and women’s sports in NCAA Division I (FCS football).
“In a time of great change in the collegiate athletics landscape, the Colonial Athletic Association offers a great match with our strategic plans for Elon’s future,” Elon President Dr. Leo M. Lambert said.
“The CAA will allow our student-athletes to compete with peers at many excellent universities on the Eastern seaboard. We will have the opportunity to continue competition with fine schools in the Carolinas and Virginia while raising Elon’s profile in the large metropolitan areas of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast – areas where many of our students, alumni and prospective students call home,” Lambert said.
Elon has won 18 Southern Conference regular-season and tournament titles. Twelve Phoenix student-athletes have earned Southern Conference Player of the Year recognition, while Elon head coaches have earned 19 Southern Conference Coach of the Year honors. Since joining the Southern Conference, 17 Elon teams and individuals have made NCAA postseason appearances, while teams and individuals have appeared in national rankings more than 20 times.
“The Colonial Athletic Association will provide the next great challenge in the growth of Elon athletics,” said Dave Blank, Elon Director of Athletics. “By emphasizing continuous improvement with our student-athletes and coaches, Elon has risen to a position of strength in SoCon competition. We are equally proud of the leadership Elon has provided in academic excellence in the conference. The CAA is a great fit at an exciting time in sports at Elon.”
The Colonial Athletic Association has produced 16 national team champions in five different sports, 33 individual national champions, 12 national players of the year, 12 national coaches of the year and 13 Honda Award winners. The conference has had two men’s basketball teams and one women’s basketball team advance to the NCAA Final Four. CAA Football has captured five national championships since 1997. CAA academic honors include five Rhodes Scholars and 22 NCAA post-graduate scholars.
Elon will join the College of Charleston, the University of Delaware, Drexel University, Hofstra University, James Madison University, the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Northeastern University, Towson University and the College of William & Mary as members of the CAA in 2014-15.