The Houghton College Department of Athletics is anticipating its membership in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division III and Empire 8 Conference. Houghton College is located in Houghton, New York.
As part of the transition into the NCAA, Houghton is adding new sports teams to its athletic offerings, beginning with baseball and softball this spring. The development of the Kerr-Pegula multi-sport complex, made possible by a $12 million gift from Kim (Kerr ’91) Pegula and her husband, Terry Pegula, will enhance these exciting changes.
Houghton College is currently an exploratory member of the NCAA Div. III and belongs to the E8 Conference. Previously, Houghton was affiliated with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Houghton’s shift to the NCAA is a strategic move toward increased visibility, due to the greater name recognition and frequency of the NCAA in the western and central New York area. In addition, the E8 conference is comprised of small to mid-size, academically rigorous institutions in Houghton’s geographic region.
Houghton is introducing several new sports programs in order to compete more fully in the E8 and look like the typical NCAA Div. III program. Baseball and softball have commenced their seasons this spring; tennis, golf and lacrosse for both men and women will be added over the next two years.
The Kerr-Pegula multi-sport complex will house some of the new sports and meet the demands of the expanding athletics program. It is expected to include lighted, regulation-size fields and provide dedicated practice space for outdoor sports over the winter and during inclement weather. The complex will provide long-sought visibility on Route 19 and allow Houghton to host major events that will draw visitors to campus.
Houghton Athletics Director Harold “Skip” Lord stated, “We are very excited about all that is happening in athletics, but more importantly, we are honored to be part of an association and conference that so nicely fit who we are as an institution academically. We look forward to moving through the process and being productive members of both the E8 and the NCAA, thereby providing our student-athletes with an outstanding educational experience.”
Houghton began a season of new sports by competing in its first baseball game in 25 years. The baseball team faced Goshen College in a historic match on February 27 in Winter Haven, Florida, winning one game and losing another. Brian Reitnour is the new head coach.