Holy Names University successfully completed the NCAA membership process and is now one of four new members of NCAA Division II. Three other institutions include Mississippi College, Rogers State University (Okla.), and Southern Wesleyan University (S.C.).
HNU President William J. Hynes, PhD, and HNU Director of Athletics Debbie Snell, EdD, were thrilled when they heard the news. In a joint statement, they said: “We knew Division II of the NCAA and the Pacific West Conference were the right places for HNU Athletics. Their philosophy balances athletic achievement with commitments to educational development and community service, which align well with our commitments to the full development of all student-athletes through their engagement in the total educational experience. As our motto says: 'Our promise to you: academic success first, athletic success always, service to others forever.’"
Snell brought a wealth of familiarity with the process, having helped multiple institutions through the transition to NCAA Division II. Snell joined HNU in Fall 2015, which was an important moment for the University in the transition, where HNU had to ultimately demonstrate ability to operate in Division II.
With oversight of HNU’s compliance, Associate Director of Athletics for Compliance/Senior Woman Administrator Marcie Haduca played an integral role in HNU’s success. Haduca was acknowledged by the Membership Committee for her competence and leadership through the process.
Vice President for Student Affairs and Title IX Officer at HNU Michael Miller, involved in the process from day one, acknowledged the importance of the University community in the process of becoming full members. “We are extremely grateful for the tireless efforts of the numerous colleagues and students involved in the process,” said Miller. “Beginning with the idea, which stemmed from the vision of Sr. Rosemarie Nasif, the initial work of Dennis Jones ’98, and Stu Koop, co-chair of the University committee assembled to produce a feasibility study, to the tremendous support of Dr. William Hynes, [HNU Board of Trustees] members Loretta Smith and Ann Reynolds, Faculty Athletic Representatives Duygu Demirlioglu and Mike Limm, and coaches such as Omar Sanchez, Lisa Thuer, and Steve Spencer – all contributed significantly to this milestone.
“We also want to thank Terry Tumey, Chuck Lindemann, Nancy Mitchell, Bob Oliver, and PacWest Commissioner Bob Hogue. Terry, Chuck, Nancy, and Bob Oliver provided significant guidance and advocacy in their consulting roles, and Commissioner Hogue provided support and advice along the way.
“The success of this initiative, however, like athletics, has to be continuous. As Dr. Snell indicates, our work is not done. We have the 2016-2017 season ahead of us and we have begun the planning process for facilities development. Our approach to the total student experience further means HNU Athletics will continue to realize its mission and vision as an outstanding member of the NCAA II.”
Not only has the staff at HNU reflected on the moment, but so have former Hawks.
Former HNU softball outfielder Deni Yandell ’15 said the following: “Being an HNU softball alum as well an HSAAC [Hawk Student Athletic Advisory Committee] alum, and having a hands-on experience in the process, it is exciting and fantastic that all of the hard work from the constituents has paid off to reach active status in NCAA Division II. I can’t wait to see the successes that our teams create. With new opportunities coming our way, I hope to see the athletes capitalize and take advantage of this new status.”
Joshua Hammer, HNU Class of 2016, also reflected on the achievement. “As a proud HNU baseball alum, as well as former HSAAC president ’16, I think now that we are a full-time member there will be potential for many more special moments to be shared for the HNU community,” said Hammer. “We now have a tremendous opportunity to take our athletics program to another level and as a former student-athlete I can only imagine how great it must feel to know there is a chance for us to not only compete for the top spot in the PacWest but also for a chance to go after a championship. Hawk Nation! Let’s continue being Hawking Awesome!”
The University had been members of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and a founding member of the California Pacific Conference (CalPac). Moving forward, NCAA membership complements participation in the Pacific West Conference (PacWest), the largest NCAA Division II conference in the West Region.
HNU Athletics was established in 1994 and is an integral part of the University. For more than two decades, the programs have impacted hundreds of students; realizing success through intercollegiate competition, academic pursuits, and an emphasis on the full development of one’s potential.
HNU Athletics now offers 13 varsity sports (seven female and six male) including baseball, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s golf, and men’s and women’s cross country. All teams compete in the PacWest.
The first athletic contest for HNU as an active member takes place on Friday, September 2 when the Hawks women’s volleyball team plays at Notre Dame de Namur University in the Route 92 Showdown in Belmont, California. Opening serve is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
There will be additional firsts in 2016-17, such as the first scheduled home event at HNU as an active NCAA Division II member on September 17, as well as the first potential day the Hawks could appear in an NCAA Postseason Event (2016 NCAA West Region Cross Country Championships on November 5 in Billings, Montana). Please visit hnuhawks.com for more possible firsts as they could happen throughout 2016-17!
You can follow the Hawks through hnuhawks.com as well as multiple social media avenues such as Facebook, Twitter (@hnuathletics), Instagram (hnuhawks) and Flickr. To become a booster for HNU Athletics, please contact Debbie Snell at 510-436-1049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related video: HNU Advances to NCAA Division II