After a few months of searching, the MAAC is back up to 11 schools with the addition of Mount Saint Mary’s University. The Mountaineers had been members of the Northeast Conference since 1989.
The news was first reported by ESPN’s Pete Thamel on April 27 and the MAAC confirmed the news on Monday after the league’s presidents unanimously voted to accept Mount St. Mary’s on April 22. The Mountainers will replace Monmouth, who announced a move to the Colonial Athletic Association earlier in the year. “The Mount” will officially join the league on July 1.
“Today is a great day in the history of Mount St. Mary’s University,” Mount St. Mary’s President, Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D said in a MAAC press release. “In joining the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the Mount gains the opportunity to compete with some of the finest Catholic colleges in the Northeast, elevating the university’s brand as well as the level of competition for our nearly 600 student-athletes and coaches. I expect basketball games on the Jim Phelan Court to draw even larger crowds and be louder than ever as we face off against excellent competition.”
There was speculation about schools like Iona and Fairfield exploring a jump to another conference, but it appears the MAAC won’t have to change its scheduling procedures for the 2022-23 academic year to adjust for fewer member institutions.
With Mount Saint Mary’s joining the league, let’s get to know the MAAC’s first Maryland-based school since Loyola (MD) left to join the Patriot League in 2013. This is the third time in recent memory that the MAAC has gone to the NEC to find new members, adding Monmouth and Quinnipiac in 2013.
School Name: Mount Saint Mary’s
Nickname: Mountaineers (Mascot: Emmitt S. Burg the Mountaineer)
Number of varsity teams: 24 (and Esports)
Notable alumni: Francisco Madero (president of Mexico from 1911-13), Jamion Christian (former head coach at Siena and Mount Saint Mary’s), and Edward Douglass White (former Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court)
Distance from Marist: 228 miles (4 hours and 35 minutes by car)
Fun Fact: Emmittsburg, MD is less than a mile south of the Mason-Dixon line, which separates Pennsylvania from Maryland (North from South to many). The Mount Saint Mary’s campus is only about 20 minutes away from the Civil War battlefield at Gettysburg, PA.
Marist and Mount Saint Mary’s were adversaries in the NEC from 1989 to 1997 before the Red Foxes left to join the MAAC. Similar to Marist, “the Mount” has a strong population of Catholic students but identifies as a Catholic institution while Marist does not.
Mount Saint Mary’s men’s basketball program has a solid pedigree that should help fill the void left by Monmouth’s departure. The Mountaineers last made the NCAA Tournament in the 2020-21season, falling to Texas Southern in the play-in round.
The Mount’s men’s basketball team has made six NCAA Tournament appearances since 1995 and should fit well in a league where schools like Iona and Siena also have a solid reputation for success.
The Mount’s women’s basketball team is in the midst of a strong stretch. They made the NCAA Tournament in the 2020-21 season and have strung together three consecutive winning seasons, finishing 16-13 in 2021-22.
Like the men, they have a solid tradition of success, with nine NCAA Tournament trips. Mount St. Mary’s should fit in with the likes of Quinnipiac and Marist, the two MAAC schools with the proudest women’s basketball programs.
The Mountaineers do not sponsor football, which makes Marist the only school left in the MAAC with a team after Monmouth’s departure. The Mount sponsors men’s and women’s golf and women’s rugby, three sports where Marist does not have varsity teams.
Their men’s lacrosse team recently wrapped a pedestrian 5-10 season, going 2-5 in NEC play. It hasn’t been a good spring for the Mountaineers’ baseball team either, as they sit 11-27 heading into the final three weeks of the season.
Women’s lacrosse is The Mount’s best spring sport in 2022. The Mountaineers have a great chance of earning the NEC’s automatic bid, going 7-1 in conference play, with the lone loss to Bryant, who is also set to depart.
Mount St. Mary’s fall and spring sports won’t bring very many new challenges to the other 10 MAAC institutions, but in a league where basketball is the top dog, their men’s and women’s basketball teams should be able to transition into a new conference without much difficulty.
Edited by Andrew Hard and Bridget Reilly
Photo Credit: ESPN.com