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Hilbert to add football, track and hockey programs

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HAMBURG – Hilbert College President Michael S. Brophy, Ph.D. announced the addition of three new sports – football, men’s and women’s track & field, and women’s ice hockey – to begin competition in fall 2022. The addition of these athletic programs advances the college’s strategic plan, Hilbert 2025, which calls for increased engagement, recruitment, and retention of student-athletes. 

“As outlined in our strategic plan, Hilbert has always intended to grow our athletic offerings,” Brophy said. “Given the current momentum around revitalizing our Hilbert campus and our tremendous community partners, we are energized to accelerate our planned athletics growth by one year.”

“On behalf of the Hilbert College board of trustees, we are thrilled to be announcing these new athletic programs,” said Laurie Boreanaz Carra ‘81, chair of the Hilbert College board of trustees. “Providing our students with these additional opportunities for growth in both mind and body aligns well with the college’s strategic plan and mission and will increase access to a Franciscan education for deserving students in our region who are interested in these sports.”

All three programs will become the second NCAA Division III programs of their kind in Erie County, following Buffalo State College. The football program be one of 19 NCAA Division III teams in New York state, while women’s hockey becomes the 14th in the state. Women’s ice hockey will be one 67 programs competing for a National Championship, football will be one of 250, and men’s and women’s track and field one of over 300. 

“We also recognize prospective college students and their families want these athletic offerings and many of them have the desire to continue competing at the collegiate level with the character-building education provided by a Franciscan institution,” Brophy added.

Hilbert has recently launched a capital campaign for a new NCAA Division III track and field complex, with an artificial turf field. The Hawks will compete in football and track & field at St. Francis High School while the campaign is on-going. Additionally, the women’s ice hockey program will practice and compete at the ice rink located at the Town of Hamburg Ice Arena on Lakeview Road.

The Hawks are still finalizing plans to join athletic conferences for these respective sports. Hilbert will remain in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference for the majority of their existing sports and in the United East (formerly NEAC) for men’s and women’s lacrosse. 

Coaching searches are currently underway and Hilbert plans to announce its first football coach next week.

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