Photo by Kris Qua
With mens hockey its only Division I sport, Rensselaer is ready to explore the possibility of elevating a womens varsity team to the top tier of intercollegiate athletics. When a new athletic director is appointed to replace retired director Bob Ducatte, the Institute will begin the process of exploring whichif anyteam can become Rensselaers first Division I womens sport.
Well do a thorough investigation of all Division III womens programs to determine what is best for Rensselaer, says Associate Athletics Director Kerry Quinn. The Institute must evaluate a number of factors, including likely success of a particular sport in a Division I league, ability to sustain a team with talented players, on-campus interest and support, facilities, coaching staff, number of scholarships available, and operating expenses.
Once the choice of team is made, Quinn says, phasing fully to Division I will take three to five years. It wont happen overnight.
Although the buzz among players and coaches is that the womens ice hockey program is the leading candidate for Division I status, Quinn says all womens varsity sports are being considered. The May 1999 Report of the Athletics Task Force, headed by honorary trustee Arnold Cogswell, found that womens ice hockey was the clear choice for Division I. Rensselaers established and recognized hockey tradition and the high caliber of women players joining the Engineers convinced the task force that womens ice hockey was ready to rise to the top.
Womens ice hockey coach Bill Cahill is excited about the possibility. Womens ice hockey would be a natural [for Division I], he says, adding that some of his current team members already are playing at that level.
We played three Division I teams this year: University of Vermont, Colgate, and Yale, says Jennifer Scammell 02. We lost, but we did keep up with them.