When the athletic department of Old Dominion University decided to leave the comfort of the Colonial Athletic Association to join Conference USA, its field hockey team suddenly found itself as an orphan.
The Monarchs’ announcement yesterday that it would join the Big East as a field hockey-only member comes at a time of transition for the Big East. Syracuse, Louisville, and Rutgers will be leaving the league before long, but that leaves a competitive field including the likes of Connecticut. And Temple is going to be joining the Big East in a couple of years as well.
There will certainly be a lot of travel in the new world of Big East field hockey going forward. When Old Dominion was in the Colonial, rivals James Madison and William and Mary, along with former CAA members Virginia Commonwealth and Richmond, were all easy drives from Hampton Roads.
No longer; the closest league rival for Old Dominion is going to be Georgetown University, which is a good three to four hours away by bus.
Still, ODU should present an interesting challenge for the field hockey teams in the re-formed league. Very few teams in the country can say they have been part of such a tradition of excellence in any NCAA sport.
And this team will also have a chance for a new start with a new head coach, as Beth Anders is stepping down.
I’ll be interested to see what The New Dominion will be.