Saint Joseph’s College Athletic Director Brian Curtin announced Wednesday that the institution will add indoor and outdoor men’s and women’s track and field as varsity sports beginning with the 2012-13 academic year.
Ray Putnam, the head coach for the Monks’ men’s and women’s cross country teams during the fall season, will serve as the coach for the new track and field programs. Coach Putnam, hired during the summer of 2011, guided the SJC club track and field team during the 2011-12 academic year. The new assistant coach is Erica Jesseman of Scarborough, a highly decorated and accomplished runner who is also an assistant cross country coach at the college.
Club track and field has had a growing interest at St. Joe’s for the past four years. This past season, the team participated in four indoor meets and four outdoor competitions. The 2012-13 varsity schedule will include additional meets so that the indoor and outdoor teams will compete in at least five meets each season.
“We really are excited about adding indoor and outdoor track as varsity sports,” adds Curtin. “We believe it will be another way we can meet the interests of our student body and our prospective students. Coach Putnam’s work ethic and his passion for track will certainly aid in the progress of these programs.”
Saint Joseph’s College is the third Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) institution to sponsor track and field as varsity programs. Ample opportunities exist for indoor and outdoor meets throughout New England. This move to varsity also now affords participating Saint Joseph’s student-athletes to compete in NCAA Regionals if they meet NCAA standards for their given events.
“In the interviewing process when I took over the cross country position, it was made clear to me that the college hoped to bring our club indoor and outdoor track and field programs up to varsity status,” says Coach Putnam. “With the support of the athletic department and athletic director strongly behind me, as well as a great coaching staff, we were able to put the fundamental foundation in place to demonstrate the interest and desire of the student body to have a varsity program.”
The addition of track and field marks the first time since the 2007-08 academic year that the college has added new varsity sports. That year, St. Joe’s introduced men’s and women’s lacrosse and men’s and women’s swimming as varsity programs.
The addition of the track and field programs will bring the total number of athletic teams at Saint Joseph’s to 19 (nine men, 10 women). Currently, the list of SJC women’s varsity sports include basketball, cross country, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, and volleyball while the men’s docket includes baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer and swimming.
May 2, 2012
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