Lawrence University announced the addition of two new athletics programs – women’s and men’s lacrosse. A national search for full-time head coaches is underway with the first season of competitive play scheduled for Spring 2025.
The addition of lacrosse follows the university’s strategic plan to align Lawrence’s athletics program with additional opportunities for student-athletes, according to Jason Imperati, Lawrence’s director of athletics. Lawrence joins a growing list of NCAA Division III institutions to offer lacrosse as an intercollegiate sport. More than 200 Division III schools around the nation sponsor intercollegiate lacrosse, including eight schools in Wisconsin. Men's lacrosse has 245 programs at the Division III level, and there are 288 women's teams competing in Division III.
"The ever-growing popularity of lacrosse across the nation, particularly in the Midwest, extends opportunities for student-athletes who are looking to continue their playing careers while pursuing a quality degree at a leading liberal arts university,” Imperati said. “While we have tremendous work ahead, we are excited for the future of both programs and what they will mean for the Lawrence experience and our greater community.”
“Bringing lacrosse to our university and region speaks to our commitment to our current and future student-athletes and we look forward to welcoming our coaches and these students to our campus,” said Lawrence University President Laurie A. Carter. “I am proud of the hard work leading to the addition of these programs to our NCAA lineup of sports.”
The university already has a playing facility for both programs with Ron Roberts Field at the Banta Bowl. Renovations to the Banta Bowl footprint in 2015 made it possible to play lacrosse in the stadium. The iconic and picturesque Banta Bowl has been home to Lawrence football since 1965 and Lawrence men's and women's soccer since 2015.
More about lacrosse at Lawrence
Lawrence becomes the fifth school in the Midwest Conference to sponsor lacrosse, joining Beloit College, Cornell College, Lake Forest College, and Monmouth College.
Lawrence is searching for a conference for the lacrosse programs, according to Imperati. The two most prominent leagues in the upper Midwest are the Midwest Lacrosse Conference (MLC) and its affiliated Midwest Women's Lacrosse Conference and the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC), which sponsors both men's and women's lacrosse. Among Midwest Conference schools, Cornell, Lake Forest and Monmouth are in the MLC, and Beloit is a member of the NACC.
The addition of men's and women's lacrosse brings Lawrence's roster of teams to 24. The most recent addition to the intercollegiate sports program at Lawrence was women's hockey, which started play in the 2020-21 academic year in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association.
Intercollegiate athletics at Lawrence date back to the 1880s with football establishing itself in 1893 and basketball following in 1896. Lawrence is a charter member of the Midwest Conference (1921), and its affiliations also include the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association and the Central Collegiate Fencing Conference.