SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) is pleased to announce the addition of Suffolk University as its 10th core conference member starting in the 2020-21 academic year. The announcement was made by the CCC Board of Directors on Wednesday morning.
"On behalf of the Commonwealth Coast Conference Board of Directors, I am pleased to welcome Suffolk University to the Commonwealth Coast Conference," said CCC Chair Dr. Anthony S. Caprio. "Suffolk's strong academic reputation and growing athletic excellence will enhance the reputation of the Conference."
The decision to add Suffolk came after an extensive membership search, after which it became clear that the Boston school was the best fit.
"Similar to the programs at each of the current like-minded CCC institutions, the Suffolk athletic program is fiercely loyal to the mission of the University, a trait common to all current CCC institutions," said Caprio. "Each of the CCC Presidents is looking forward to collaborating with President Marisa Kelly and the Suffolk Athletics administration as we continue to grow and evolve as one of the strongest athletic conferences in the education-rich region of New England."
Suffolk, located in the heart of downtown Boston, becomes the conference's first new full member since the addition of Western New England in 2007. Suffolk's athletics programs are growing, with Rams teams competing in 19 varsity sports, up from 13 just four years ago. In that time, the university's student-athlete population increased from 180 to over 300, while full-time head coaches have tripled from four to 13, and the University has secured outdoor home fields.
"The Commonwealth Coast Conference is a great fit for Suffolk University," said Suffolk President Marisa Kelly. "It's an outstanding conference that puts strong emphasis on both athletic and academic excellence. The move to the CCC demonstrates our commitment to our student-athletes and to athletics as an important part of the cocurricular experience at Suffolk University."
The Rams sponsor 19 varsity sports including 14 current CCC Championship sports (baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's golf, men's ice hockey, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's tennis, women's outdoor track and field, and women's volleyball). Suffolk currently competes as a member of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC), but the University's relationship with the CCC began during the 2016-17 academic year when the Rams competed in the conference in men's ice hockey as an associate member.
"We are thrilled to become members of the Commonwealth Coast Conference. The CCC aligns well with us both academically and athletically, and we think it is a natural fit for Suffolk University athletics," said Suffolk Director of Athletics Cary McConnell. "With the ever-changing landscape of conference affiliation in Division Three, we believe it is in the best interest of our student-athletes, who have enjoyed tremendous success academically and athletically, to continue to pursue excellence through membership in the CCC."
In addition to the 14 sports in which Suffolk will be competing for CCC Championships, the Rams also sponsor women's golf, women's ice hockey, men's and women's indoor track and field, and men's outdoor track. Their additional sport offerings will help the league get closer to providing additional CCC Championship opportunities for its student-athletes, especially in men's track and field and women's ice hockey.
"Over the past four years Suffolk Athletics has grown in multiple ways. Today is rewarding, as we feel this is the next step in enhancing the experience for our student-athletes," said McConnell. "We are excited about this opportunity, but it is somewhat bittersweet to look back on the great rivalries we have shared for the past 19 years with our GNAC friends."
The Conference office shared some of the same views regarding the growth of the Rams Athletics Department.
"Dr. Kelly's leadership and vision for Suffolk University places athletics in a key position to support an institutional mission that centers on education, inclusion and engagement," said CCC Commissioner Gregg M. Kaye. "Cary McConnell and his staff are talented people who have done an exceptional job building and growing a broad-based athletics program that enhances the competitive experience for both Suffolk student-athletes and their peers from visiting institutions. Suffolk's facility partnership with the City of Boston and the continued financial support of local philanthropists have greatly enhanced the University's already strong commitment to athletics. The CCC will benefit greatly as we welcome Suffolk's institutional leadership, athletics administration team, coaches and – most importantly – a strong group of talented Rams student-athletes to the CCC team."
Upon Suffolk's formal admission into the conference in the fall of 2020-21, it will be immediately eligible for conference championships and the league's NCAA automatic qualifier.
ABOUT THE COMMONWEALTH COAST CONFERENCE
The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), founded in 1984, is an NCAA Division III athletic conference comprised of nine full member and one associate member institutions throughout the New England region. Its membership aims to provide student-athletes with a positive experience in their pursuit of excellence through high academic standards, quality competition, and a meaningful student life. The conference administers championships in 18 intercollegiate sports.