Villa Maria College is getting back into the college sports game by relaunching their athletics program. Beginning in fall 2015, students will be able to compete in intercollegiate men's and women's soccer and basketball.
Additional sports including tennis, golf, bowling, volleyball and eventually lacrosse and rugby are part of the near future plans. Villa athletes will begin competing against local colleges at the intercollegiate club level in the fall. Soon after, the college plans to apply for NCAA Division III membership and join a regional conference to compete against other local Division III schools, such as Medaille College in Buffalo, Hilbert College in Hamburg, and D'Youville College in Buffalo.
"Having athletics will not only bring energy and excitement to the campus, it will also help to attract students to our outstanding academic programs," said Brian Emerson, vice president for enrollment management and student services. "We are developing an athletic program where students value academic excellence, act as good campus citizens, and live the mission and values of the college."
One of the ways the college hopes to build student engagement on campus before the fall semester is by holding a contest for the student body and the community to help determine the new identity of the teams.
"Sports can really bring a community together, and opening this up to, not only the students, but our neighbors and friends in Cheektowaga and on Buffalo's East Side, shows our respect and commitment to the region," Emerson said.
Villa's current athletic facilities will be used by the Athletics Department, which includes a full-size gymnasium, pool, training and locker rooms. The department plans to upgrade these facilities, while also making use of neighboring Schiller Park.
Coaches for the women and men teams will be on staff by early February, with an athletic director to be hired later in the summer. Emerson will serve as acting athletic director.
Students interested in becoming a student athlete should contact the admissions office at 716-961-1805 or email.