Accepting the Invitation to Join the Northeast Conference of NCAA Division I

Sept. 13, 2018

Warriors —this is our time.

Thank you, Commissioner Morris, and thank you, presidents of the Northeast Conference — 

Thank you for believing in us, thank you for supporting us, thank you for acknowledging who Merrimack is today. And thank you for inviting us to the Northeast Conference.

After eight years of hard work and discipline and hopes and dreams by everyone in this community — alumni, trustees, faculty, staff, students, parents, coaches, athletes, friars — Commissioner Morris, on behalf of Merrimack College, I accept the invitation, and we are ready to begin competing in the 2019-2020 season.

When I arrived nine years ago, I was given a charge to propel the college academically and athletically to the level where it truly belonged.

It is the obligation and, frankly, the great joy of any president to leave an institution better than he or she found it.

Thirty years ago, Father John Deegan, then president of Merrimack, made the historic decision to move men’s ice hockey into Hockey East and Division I. He believed in the College, and saw the direction where it should go, and he laid the foundation for what we are building today.

The Northeast Conference is where we belong.

Let me be clear: It is not simply an athletic designation. It is a recognition of the kind of school Merrimack is today.

We are being welcomed not just as competitors, but as peers, by institutions that contribute greatly to American higher education, to their communities and to their conference. Institutions that have outstanding national reputations. Institutions that tirelessly pursue excellence. And, yes, institutions that compete well and compete hard.

Merrimack has built a reputation as well. Over our 71 years, we have built a community in which athletics is so important to our cultural life, and a big part of our identity.

We have grown our reputation academically and athletically on parallel tracks — a rare feat and not an easy one — but one this community pursued and embraced.

And now we enter the Northeast Conference, and join Merrimack’s growing reputation to that of the NEC schools. There’s an old saying: Who you associate with matters. It shapes how the world looks at you, and how you view the world.

We could not ask for a better group of institutions to associate with, or better company to be judged by. We believe that the Northeast Conference schools and Merrimack will fit well together, will play hard together, and will rise — together.

To our alumni and fans, in the Merrimack Valley and beyond: You will have a richer, more exciting experience as Northeast Conference schools compete on our campus.

To our coaches and student-athletes: I know you will step up your game and reach greater heights.

And to our entire community: We will take on an even greater sense of pride and accomplishment.

Fellow warriors — 

This is our house.

This is our time.

This is who we are.

This is who we will be.

This is Merrimack.

I want to again thank Commissioner Morris, and especially thank Athletic Director Jeremy Gibson and Executive Vice President Jeff Doggett for the work that has brought us here.

Thank you, God bless, and go Warriors!