Wingate University Announces Addition of Field Hockey as 24th Intercollegiate Sport
by USA Field Hockey
WINGATE, N.C. - Wingate University Vice-President and Director of Athletics Steve Poston has announced the addition of field hockey as the university's 24th NCAA intercollegiate sport. The Wingate field hockey team will have its inaugural season in the fall of 2022.
"I am pleased that we will be adding field hockey as our 24th NCAA sport in the fall of 2022," Poston says. "Providing more competitive opportunities for women will be an exciting addition to Bulldog athletics. We look forward to welcoming new student-athletes to Wingate University. I am confident that these young women will become a valuable addition to not only to our athletic program, but to our entire campus community."
There are now 282 NCAA Field Hockey programs. Wingate will be the 37th NCAA Division II Field Hockey program. There are 77 NCAA Division I teams and 168 Division III squads.
"Field hockey is an exciting addition for Wingate Athletics," Wingate University Deputy Director of Athletics Michelle Caddigan says. "It is a natural fit for us as it has a similar appeal that Women's Lacrosse brought to our department when we added it in 2014. Field hockey is a growing sport, specifically in our region, and will provide the young women in our program the opportunity to participate in a competitive schedule while receiving a quality education. We look forward to welcoming a group of fantastic student-athletes to Wingate Athletics and our campus community.
The Bulldogs will be a part of the South Atlantic Conference Carolinas. Wingate will be the ninth member of the conference, joining SAC schools Limestone, Queens, Newberry, Lincoln Memorial and Coker, along with Conference Carolinas schools Belmont Abbey, Converse and Mount Olive.
This now gives Wingate 24 intercollegiate sports. This is the second consecutive year the Bulldogs have added a sport. Wingate announced the addition of women's triathlon in June of 2020; they will begin competition next month. Wingate also added a men's triathlon Club team, which will also begin in September. Prior to the addition of triathlon, the last sport added was women's lacrosse in 2014, while men's and women's track and field were added in 2013.
A national search for Wingate's first-ever field hockey coach is underway. The Bulldogs will begin competition in 2022 as a member of the South Atlantic Conference Carolinas. The season will begin in September of 2022. The average Division II field hockey season consists of between 15 and 20 games.
"I am thrilled that Wingate has added their voice to the field hockey community in the Carolinas," said Chip Rogers, Chair of the USA Field Hockey Grow the Game Committee. "As an institution that has already demonstrated a huge amount of success in athletics, Wingate’s addition bolsters an already impressive growth spurt in the region. With the establishment of USA Field Hockey State Chapters in North and South Carolina, and the arrival of our national teams programs to the Charlotte region, field hockey continues to gain in popularity. I look forward to more conversations with institutions as the excitement builds."
Founded in 1896, Wingate University is a laboratory of difference-making that serves more than 3,600 students in North Carolina. Wingate offers 37 undergraduate majors as well as eight master's and five doctoral degrees. The University is home to the Cannon College of Arts and Sciences; the Levine College of Health Sciences; the Byrum School of Business; and the College of Professional Studies, which includes the Thayer School of Education and the School of Sport Sciences.
Wingate is a leader in healthcare education, and nearly one in five Wingate undergraduate students is preparing to be a pharmacist, physician assistant, physical therapist, occupational therapist or nurse. Student-athletes on Wingate's 23 teams compete in NCAA Division II and have brought home the SAC Echols Athletic Excellence Award for 13 years straight. The University's motto is "Faith, Knowledge, Service." View current news and videos at www.wingate.edu.