Stevenson to debut in MAC

Stevenson's first football game isn't until 2011. But when the Mustangs take the field, they'll do so as members of the Middle Atlantic Conference. Athletic director Brett Adams announced the school has accepted the invitation to join as an associate member beginning with the school's inaugural season in 2011.

The move eliminate the possibility that the Capital Athletic Conference would soon sponsor football, as Stevenson, Frostburg State and Salisbury will all have associate membership in other conferences for the near future. Wesley will be an independent starting in 2011 after the breakup of the Atlantic Central Football Conference.

"We've known that the MAC is one of the premier academic and athletic conferences in the country," said Adams. "The reputation of the schools and our opportunity to be associated with the reputation of the schools and the athletic departments is a great fit for our school. I have a long history with a number of athletic directors and coaches in the MAC and have always had positive experiences. We can't think of a better fit."

It has been an exciting and fast-moving first year for the new football program at Stevenson. After officially announcing the addition of football in June 2009, the school hired its first coach in November, hired an offensive and defensive coordinator in the spring along with a staff of six assistants and volunteers, developed plans on a new stadium on the Owings Mills campus for completion in fall 2011 and joined a conference.

With the addition of Stevenson, the MAC will have nine institutions that sponsor football, including Albright, Delaware Valley, FDU-Florham, King's, Lebanon Valley, Lycoming, Widener and Wilkes.

"I think any time that you can join a league with the established history that the MAC has is an honor in many ways," said Stevenson head coach Ed Hottle. "The history of those programs is significant. The success that they've had putting four teams in the postseason this past fall is very, very significant to the history and quality of play within the league."

Stevenson also considered other high-profile football conferences, including the Old Dominion Athletic Conference who is a co-host of the NCAA Division III national championship game, the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl. The school sent a letter of inquiry in June, not a formal application, however. The ODAC had not finished considering Stevenson's candidacy.

While Stevenson's 2011 schedule has yet to be released, Hottle commented that even in their first year, the Mustangs look forward to building a winning tradition and competing for championships.

"It's our mission at Stevenson that we seek out some of the better teams in the country because that's where we want to be and the MAC is a big step towards that."