Neha Patil (Editor)

North Atlantic Conference

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Established  1996
Division  Division III
Region  Northern New England
Association  NCAA
Members  10
North Atlantic Conference
Sports fielded  15 (men's: 7; women's: 8)

The North Atlantic Conference (NAC) is an athletic conference, affiliated with the NCAA ’s Division III, consisting primarily of small liberal arts colleges throughout the New England states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.


The conference was founded in 1996 when six colleges agreed to form the North Atlantic Women's Conference. It changed to its current name in the fall of 1999. It currently sponsors a total of 15 men's and women's sports played by teams of the 13 institutions therein.


  • Fall 1996 - Bay Path, Lesley, Lasell, Wheelock, Maine Maritime Academy and Massachusetts College of Pharmacy explore the opportunity to join and form an athletic conference to give women student-athletes an opportunity to compete in a post-season tournament.
  • Spring 1997 - The above named institutions work out the details to create an athletic conference to be known as the North Atlantic Women's Conference (NAWC). The steps for a constitution and set bylaws is drafted, championship hosting criteria are established and dates chosen for a spring softball championship.
  • Fall 1997 - The first full academic year for the NAWC brings additional meetings to continue to make policy and procedures more formalized. Championships are to be held in women's soccer, cross-country, basketball and softball.
  • Spring 1998 - Basketball holds first NAWC Championship at Lasell College.
  • Fall 1998 - Becker, Elms and Mount Ida Colleges are interviewed and accepted for membership starting Fall 1999.
  • Spring 1999 - Basketball holds its first NAWC Championship at Maine Maritime Academy.
  • Fall 1999 - North Atlantic Conference (NAC) begins first season of competition, new members include: Becker, Elms and Mount Ida Colleges. This are 8 members of the NAC. Championships include both women and men.
  • Spring 2000 - The North Atlantic Conference conducts women's and men's championships for basketball and softball.
  • Fall 2000 - The North Atlantic Conference continues to expand postseason championship opportunities for its student-athletes. Two new associate members are added for women's field hockey, Simmons College and Western New England College.
  • Spring 2001 - The North Atlantic Conference begins preliminary discussions with potential new NAC members.
  • Fall 2001 - The North Atlantic Conference continues to expand the post season championship opportunities for its student-athletes. Five institutions apply and present to NAC members for admittance to the NAC for Fall 2002 academic year. Two institutions; Castleton State College (VT) and Johnson State College (VT) apply for full members status. Three Maine institutions are seeking associate membership for women's field hockey, Thomas, Husson and UMaine Farmington. The NAC approves its first major expansion in 2 years, bringing the NAC membership to 10 full members and 5 associate members.
  • Spring 2002 - The 3 Maine institutions with associate membership status continue talks about joining the NAC as full members for the fall of 2003-2004.
  • Fall 2002 - The NAC receives confirmation that it will be recognized as a non-voting member of the NCAA Division III. Dr. Carol Matteson of Mount Ida College begins a two-year term at President of the NAC. The automatic qualifier opportunities for women's sports begin a two-year waiting period before being instituted.
  • Fall 2002 - Three institutions, Thomas, Husson and UMaine Farmington apply and present for full member consideration in September 2002 for admittance to the NAC for the Fall 2003 academic year. The NAC accepts the three associate members for full NAC membership in Fall 2003. The NAC approves its second major expansion in 3 years, bringing the NAC membership to 13 full members and 2 associate members.
  • Fall 2002 - The North Atlantic Conference continues to expand the post season championship opportunities for its student-athletes. Fall sports teams now compete with championships being expanded to include both full and associate members, increasing the championships sponsored to include: women's volleyball, soccer, field hockey and cross country and men's soccer and cross country.
  • Spring 2003 - The NAC members meet at NCAA Convention to continue to chart the future course for the NAC. The members meet in Portsmouth, NH for membership meeting and to set the agenda for the President's Meeting in May. The NAC conducts women's and men's basketball championships. For the second year in a row, the NAC sends a men's team, Lasell College, to the NCAA tournament as an at-large bid. The NAC holds a spring championship for softball. Elms College wins and receives an at-large bid to play in the NCAA softball championship.
  • Spring 2003 - Presidents and Directors of Athletics meet for the first time in NAC history to discuss various issues on the future of the NAC. Strategic planning, mission statement, travel and web development are discussed.
  • Fall 2004 - Tournament Champions in Field Hockey, Men's and Women's Soccer, and Volleyball receive the conference's automatic qualifier to participate in the NCAA Tournament. Maine-Farmington, which claimed the 2004 NAC Field Hockey Championship, upends Keene State in the first round of the 2004 NCAA Division III Field Hockey Tournament, 3-2 in double overtime on November 10 being the first NAC school to advance past the first round of NCAA championship play.
  • Winter 2005 - Elms ends a dominant three-year run by Lasell in the Men's Basketball Championship, upending the top-seeded Lasers 70-66. Maine Maritime earns its third NAC Women's Basketball Championship in seven years with a 65-56 win over intrastate rival UMaine-Farmington. Both victors receive the automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time.
  • Spring 2005 - Baseball and Men's Lacrosse both feature for the first time seven teams competing for the NAC Championship and begin the two-year waiting period for automatic qualification to the NACC Tournament. For Baseball, Elms and Husson along with associate member St. Joseph's (ME) compete for the first time in league play, with St. Joseph's taking the 2005 championship. Maine Maritime and Thomas fielded Men's Lacrosse for the first time ever, and were joined by associate members Daniel Webster and Emerson. Mount Ida continued its dominance in Men's Lacrosse, going undefeated for the second season in a row and taking the 2005 NAC Tournament. Maine-Farmington takes the 2005 NAC Softball Championship for the first time in dramatic fashion, winning four straight games, the final in extra innings over Elms.
  • Spring 2005 - Julie Muller becomes the commissioner of the North Atlantic Conference on May 1, 2005. Inheriting the title from Mount Ida Athletic Director, Dr. Jacqueline Palmer, she becomes the first person to hold the sole title of commissioner for the 13-member NCAA Division III conference. The NAC begins an extensive evaluation of the conference and plans to initiate its first strategic planning process. Dr. Carol Matteson agrees to extend her term in office as President of the Presidents Council for an additional year.
  • Spring 2006 - President Dave Wolk, Castleton, is elected to the position of Chair for the Presidents Council, taking over the post from President Carol Matteson of Mount Ida College. St. Joseph's College of Maine earns an At Large Bid to the NCAA tournament in Baseball. NAC begins to explore adding football as an NAC championship sport.
  • Fall 2006 - Mount Ida College and Lasell College begin final year of NAC competition as conference full members after withdrawing from the conference as full members. Both are accepted as Associate Members beginning Fall of 2007; Mount Ida for Men's Lacrosse and Lasell for Field Hockey. Western New England College participates in its final year as associate members in field hockey.
  • Spring 2007 - Mount Ida College earns the first NAC automatic qualifier in Men's Lacrosse. During its last season of competition in NAC baseball, St. Joseph's College earns the first automatic qualifier awarded the conference in that sport. Husson College represents the NAC as the automatic qualifier in Men's Golf. Green Mountain College and Lyndon State College present for full membership consideration during the NAC Annual Meeting in York Harbor, Maine. Both institutions are accepted, to begin competition in Fall of 2008. St. Joseph's College of Maine is accepted as associate members for field hockey, beginning competition in fall of 2008. Presidents Council votes to begin NAC competition in football in the fall of 2009.
  • Fall 2007 - Bay Path College, Becker College, Elms College, Lesley University and Wheelock College begin their final year of competition as full conference members after withdrawing from the NAC. Applications for associate membership in football are accepted and under consideration for competition to begin fall of 2009.
  • Fall 2008 - Green Mountain College and Lyndon State College join the conference as full members.
  • Fall 2011 - Colby–Sawyer College and New England College join the conference as full members.
  • Member schools

    Full member institutions include:

    Current members

    1 - Colby-Sawyer will leave the NAC in 2018-19 to join the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC).

    Former members


    - Women's college, therefore not competing in men's sports
    * - Former women's college (Elms since 1998-99, Lasell since 1997-98, Lesley since 2005-06)


    The NAC holds championships in the following sports:

  • Fall season: men's and women's cross country, field hockey, golf, men's and women's soccer, women's tennis, women's volleyball
  • Winter season: men's and women's basketball
  • Spring season: baseball, men's lacrosse, softball, men's tennis
  • References

    North Atlantic Conference Wikipedia