St. Thomas University to Add Women's Lacrosse

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — St. Thomas University (STU) director of athletics Bill Rychel announced the addition of women’s lacrosse to the athletic roster on Tuesday, the university announced.

The Bobcats women’s lacrosse team will be set to compete in the 2022-23 school year.

“I am excited to provide another opportunity for women to compete at St Thomas,” Rychel said. “Lacrosse has continued to grow throughout the country and will be a great addition to our athletic department. I look forward to working with Coach [Candace] Walker to identify our first head coach and launch the program in 2022.”

“It’s exciting to see lacrosse grow throughout the country at all levels, and the NAIA has experienced rapid growth in the last seven years,” Brandon Davis, a representative of Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA), said. “The state of Florida has shown over and over that it can produce quality programs that can compete on the national stage in a short period of time. We can’t wait to see what the program at St Thomas can bring to the table and add to the strong stable of NAIA programs!”

STU Women’s Lacrosse will compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The sport recently was promoted to the championship level in the NAIA just last year. The Bobcats are set to be the 21st program in Florida and 39th program in the NAIA to sponsor the sport. St. Thomas will join Webber International, Keiser, SCAD-Savannah, and Ave Maria as the fifth Sun Conference school to run a program. There are currently 69 high schools in Florida which sponsor the sport.

“It is really exciting to see the growth of lacrosse in so many different areas around the world,” Gina Oliver Thomas, IWLCA Executive Board Vice President, said. “Florida has produced so many great lacrosse players, so glad to see more collegiate opportunities provided in the state!”

Bobcat’s Women’s Lacrosse is the eighth sport announced under the leadership of St. Thomas University’s 10th President, David A. Armstrong, J.D. Recent new sports programs include football, women’s golf, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s wrestling, women’s flag football and women’s bowling.

“We are so happy to start Women’s Lacrosse at St. Thomas University,” Armstrong said. “We want to give as many opportunities as we can for women’s athletics because we know it will only enhance the prestige of St. Thomas University as we advance our strategic plan!”

St. Thomas University Athletics now has a department total of 26 varsity sport programs with the inclusion of women’s lacrosse. The addition of the program is a representation of STU’s new strategic plan “Limitless,” providing limitless opportunities for student-athletes to continue their education while competing at the collegiate level.

St. Thomas is currently conducting a nationwide search to hire the program’s inaugural head coach.

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