History of the NE10
The Northeast-10 Conference is an NCAA Division II conference that was established in 1979. The conference consists of 14 member institutions located throughout the Northeast in the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. With the addition of women’s golf in 2014-15, the NE10 now sponsors a total of 24 sports.
The institutions that make up the NE10 are Adelphi University (Garden City, N.Y.), American International College (Springfield, Mass.), Assumption University (Worcester, Mass.), Bentley University (Waltham, Mass.), Franklin Pierce University (Rindge, N.H.), Le Moyne College (Syracuse, N.Y.), University of New Haven (West Haven, Conn.), Pace University (Pleasantville, N.Y.), Saint Anselm College (Manchester, N.H.), Saint Michael’s College (Colchester, Vt.), The College of Saint Rose (Albany, N.Y.), Southern Connecticut State University (New Haven, Conn.), Southern New Hampshire University (Manchester, N.H.), and Stonehill College (Easton, Mass.).
The conference’s 14 member institutions are spread geographically from Syracuse, N.Y. to Waltham, Mass. and from Colchester, Vt. to Garden City, N.Y. Many of the members are located in or around the metropolitan areas of Albany, Boston, Manchester, New Haven, Worcester and New York City. The Northeast-10 was proud to welcome the New Haven and Adelphi in the conference’s latest expansion, adding to the powerful union of strong academic and athletic institutions. In addition, Mercy College (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.), Molloy College (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) and St. Thomas Aquinas College (Sparkill, N.Y.) are associate members of the NE10 in field hockey, while Post University (Waterbury, Conn.) is an associate member in ice hockey.
The NE10 has evolved into a membership committed to competitive athletics programs that emphasize the education, both on and off the field, of more than 6,000 student-athletes. Among the many accomplishments of these institutions are NCAA Division II national championships in women’s basketball, men's and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, men’s and women’s track and field, and men’s and women’s swimming and diving.
The conference, like many other leagues and institutions across collegiate athletics, endured hardship during the 2019-20 season with the COVID-19 pandemic eliminating spring competition and championships. All NE10 spring championships were cancelled, as well as NCAA Championships for winter sports such as men's and women's basketball, swimming & diving and indoor track & field. Despite the difficult circumstances during the 2020 spring semester, the NE10 had many accomplishments during the year.
American International's Ezra Mutai captured the league's first-ever NCAA Cross Country national championship on Nov. 23 at the Arcade Creek Cross Country Course in Sacramento, Calif. In the final kilometer of the race, Mutai pulled away from the pack to win the 10-kilometer run in a time of 29:31.2. He became just the fourth Yellow Jacket to ever win an NCAA title and was honored with the Doug Watts Award as the Division II National Athlete of the Year.
Additionally, the Saint Anselm field hockey team advanced to the NCAA national championship game - falling just short to West Chester by a 2-1 margin. The Hawks were NE10 regular season and tournament champions during their miraculous run to the national title game. The Saint Rose women's soccer team, after securing both NE10 regular season and tournament championships, advanced to the NCAA semifinals before a narrow 3-2 loss to Grand Valley State. For the Golden Knights, it was their seventh trip to the national semifinals over the past 12 seasons.
When it came to NCAA postseason selections, the NE10 once again had another sensational year with 25 teams chosen to participate in national tournaments during the fall and winter seasons. In addition, 32 student-athletes from swimming and diving, cross country, and indoor track & field teams qualified to compete for national titles. Of those 25 teams earning NCAA bids, three of them advanced to at least the national quarterfinals.
Off the playing surface, two legendary NE10 coaches received deserving recognition for their success over the years. Former Bentley women's basketball coach Barbara Stevens was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, while Stonehill cross country coach Karen Boen was inducted into the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Stevens announced her retirement in June following her 34th season at the helm at Bentley, finishing her career with 1,058 wins - fourth-most among all NCAA women's basketball coaches. Boen has racked up an astonishing 38 NE10 championships throughout her career as the cross country and indoor/outdoor track & field coach for the Skyhawks.
It was a record year for the NE10 academically in 2019-20 as well. The league posted an NCAA Division II record with an 88-percent mark for the Academic Success Rate (graduation rate) - and is the sixth time in the last seven years that the conference has finished in first or tied for first in ASR across all of Division II. Five NE10 institutions achieved a department ASR of at least 90 percent, with Bentley leading the entire country at a remarkable 99-percent. Three achieved a score of 95 percent or better, ranking them in the top-10 nationally. A record 62-percent of the league’s student-athletes were named to the Academic Honor Roll in the fall with 269 posting a perfect 4.0 GPA.
The NE10 also remains focused on its community endeavors. The conference has built a strong partnership with Team IMPACT, a non-profit organization that matches children with life-threatening illnesses with college sports teams. In 2015, the NE10 became the first ‘fully-matched’ conference in Division II, as at least one team from each member institution has matched with a Team IMPACT child. The conference’s fundraising efforts for Make-A-Wish are also more than any other Division II conference in the country over the past decade.
Through the establishment and enforcement of regulations, the conference aims to encourage policies that enable intercollegiate athletics programs to contribute to and be considered an integral part of the total educational offerings at our member institutions. The NE10 can look to a long history of success including the growth from seven original member institutions to doubling in size over the past 40 years, the contention for and winning of multiple national championships, and the recognition of student-athlete performances off the field and in the classroom.
In the 2020-21 season, the NE10 will be celebrating its 40th Anniversary as a Division II conference. The league began competition in the sports of soccer, basketball and baseball in the fall of 1980, making the 2020 fall season a huge milestone in the conference's history. As the NE10 embarks on its fifth decade of athletic and academic success, it looks forward to a bright future with its high-achieving membership to produce the best possible experience for all student-athletes. #NE10EMBRACE40