Athletics adds women’s lacrosse for 2018-19 season

by Andrew Goodwin | Sports Editor

Women’s lacrosse is coming to Whitworth in the Spring of 2019

Whitworth University hopes to attract more student athletes and expand their athletic program through the addition of a woman’s lacrosse team. The creation of the team as Whitworth’s 21st varsity sport was recently approved by the President’s cabinet, athletic director Tim Demant said.

Suggestions for a women’s lacrosse team came from the Budget Rationalization & Prioritization Steering Committee’s 2017 report to create revenue. The program is estimated to cost the university $76,000 in fiscal year 2018 but bring in $233,000 in fiscal years 2019 and 2020.

“We looked for some areas where we could bring in more students,” Demant said. “We can now tap into a market of students who may not currently be coming to Whitworth.”

Tuition revenue isn’t the only reason for the team. Women’s lacrosse will also allow Whitworth to add points to their Northwest Conference all-sports trophy total, Demant said.

“It was an opportunity to add a sport the conference already had, and lacrosse is a fast-growing sport in the NCAA right now,” Demant said. “We wanted to get ahead of the curve and provide the opportunity for potential student athletes.”

Currently, only five schools in the conference play women’s lacrosse. Whitworth and Willamette both plan to add teams for the 2019 season.

In order to create the team the athletic department’s first step is to find a coach. The department submitted their job description to the University yesterday and plan to begin a national search, Demant said.

The athletic department hopes to hire a coach this spring in order to give them a year to recruit and develop potential athletes, Demant said.  

The team will play in the Pine Bowl, and practice both there and on grass fields, Demant said. The team will be able to practice and play outdoors all season long thanks to the latest facilities project for Whitworth athletics, which includes transitioning the Pine Bowl to artificial turf. Other upgrades to facilities include an upgrade to the Pine Bowl press box and a new athletics administration building. The estimated cost of the combined project is $13 million.