To our newest Stags: welcome to Fairfield University!
For me, one of the most simple yet exciting ways to get involved on campus from the get-go is by attending any sporting event that may pique your interest. Fairfield University has 20 Division I sports teams, so it’s a surefire way of finding a fun way to unwind.
For starters, Fairfield University is a Division I school without football. I get asked this question a lot, but just to clear the air, no, we do not have a football team, unfortunately.
However, there are so many teams that Fairfield students do very much rally around. Our basketball teams, volleyball team, field hockey team and more are just a few examples, but I’ll get into all of that and more.
Here is a profile of each team we have and a little information about them.
You can find our baseball team in action in the spring, so if you’re a fan of America’s Pastime, then you might find yourself waiting a semester. They play at the Alumni Baseball Diamond up by Rafferty Stadium if you’re looking for their home field.
Our baseball team is very widely known for making it all the way to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament in 2020-2021. RPI rankings saw them place third in the nation for multiple weeks as they blew through their competition. For their 2021-2022 campaign, they did not find the same success but still found themselves near the top of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference standings.
Our softball team plays at their Alumni Softball Diamond right next to the First-Year Quad. If you’re a first-year student who loves watching softball, this location makes it very easy to go and view games with your friends. The field is only a few steps from both Jogues Hall and Campion Hall.
Our team is actually very good, as well. They usually have a really long season that extends past the normal school year’s limits, so if you’re a fan and you live locally, then you have easy access to all of these games. They’re a team with some incredible heart and you would be a fool not to go watch some games.
Jay Young, the head coach of the men’s basketball team here at Fairfield, has been building up his squad in preparation for a pivotal year for Fairfield basketball. After a season of not being able to play on campus and instead opting for the newly renamed Total Mortgage Arena in downtown Bridgeport, Conn., the team will finally be able to play under the bright lights of the brand new Arena and Convocation Center, where construction is slated to be finished by the time the season rolls around. Last year, they made it to the semifinals of the MAAC playoffs before falling to the world-renowned Saint Peter’s University who went much further into the March Madness tournament than expected.
I must say (and this goes for the women’s team as well) college basketball is one of the most exciting sports to watch. Their games are either streamed on Stags Sports Network through the athletics website or on ESPN, so be sure to tune in wherever you might find their games!
On the women’s side, honestly, maybe I’m a little biased, but it has been a pleasure to cover their team. The women’s basketball team has a brand new look to them, and when I mean brand new I MEAN it. Former head coach Joe Frager retired this past year after an incredible season, capping off his career on a MAAC Championship and the team’s first run to the NCAA tournament in ages.
Another key cog in the new look of the team is the addition of new coach Carly Thibault-DuDonis. Our newest head coach was welcomed to Fairfield with a large ceremony in the Barone Campus Center, which kicks off the next age of Fairfield University basketball. The arena, like previously aforementioned, is just another part of the massive upheaval the team has seen.
With every fiber of my being, I cannot stress enough how good of a time it is to be a fan of Fairfield University women’s basketball.
Cross Country (M&W)
Our Cross Country team is not as well known, but their team environment is unmatched; they are a smaller athletic program at Fairfield but that does not mean they do not carry might. In certain meets and invitationals this past year, the team was unable to hit their stride but ultimately will be able to bounce back next year. In all honesty, I’m not sure if there is a way to view their events in person, but what I can tell you is that they have some amazing people to talk to, at least in my experiences with The Mirror. They post PDFs of their event recaps on FairfieldStags.com after every event, so check them out if you’re interested!
Like the men’s team, the women’s cross country program lacked luster during the season and were not able to come up big in the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships. Similarly, cross country is not as easy of a sport to view unfortunately, so it makes it somewhat difficult to be a fan. However, the results will always be posted right after, so there is never any worry that you will be missing out on the fun.
There really is no “home field”, so students cannot simply go and watch an event right here on campus. Fairfield University has a gravel track that spans around Lessing Field but no official track, since we have no track team.
Men’s Golf showed out this year in spectacular stands against teams like Sacred Heart University and the University of Hartford. Again, as a viewer, you might run into some difficulty looking for the ability to view their events, but they always post scores right after their tournaments and invitationals, so never fear.
Women’s Golf, on a similar note, are somewhat inaccessible to the fan, because of the amount they travel. I mean, it’s somewhat self explanatory, but Fairfield University doesn’t have a golf course on campus (I had to, sorry). They play at a variety of local courses in Fairfield, Trumbull and the surrounding area, with invitationals against other schools.
Coach Doug Holub is the coach for both the men’s and women’s program, so any Fairfield golf-related questions can be answered by the man himself. If I was to tell you one thing about our golf team, it would be that they just don’t quit.
Don’t call it a comeback! Our men’s lacrosse team, for a lack of a better word, sputtered through the 2021 campaign, with only a few games on their schedule (might I add, all of the games were in-conference as to limit travel for COVID-19 purposes). With their in-conference competition, things got frustrating; however, in the 2022 season, Coach Andrew Baxter and company returned to their winning ways, securing key wins against established lacrosse programs like Sacred Heart, Hofstra University and The University of Massachusetts Amherst.
As a fan, maybe I am a little biased but this team and the women’s lacrosse team are my two favorites to watch. I grew up playing lacrosse and to know that I am at a school that very much values and seeks success for their lacrosse programs is a really great thing for a student like me.
Just as a quick interjection…I cannot stress enough how important it is to give club sports a chance as well. This year, the men’s club lacrosse team set a record for the largest crowd in the National College Lacrosse League during their play-in game for the national tournament. At this game they also hosted a memorial event for Charlie Capalbo ‘22 which made it that much more special. I have not once in my time here seen the community come together more than that moment. It is absolutely beautiful to see how sports at any level can unite a whole community.
To continue with women’s lacrosse, however, the team shares Conway Field at Rafferty Stadium and is housed in the Walsh Athletic Center. They are one of the most dominant and winningest teams here at Fairfield, pumping out MAAC Championships like its nothing; what I mean by that is that they have won four straight!
Rowing is another one of those sports here at Fairfield that I’m not entirely sure you can go and view, as it is much more of a long-distance type of sport where it is not confined to one field or anything like that. However, both the men’s and women’s rowing team does a lot of recruiting at the beginning of the year so if you’re interested in learning about either the leadership aspects of rowing or even just looking to stay in shape and meet a bunch of new people, I know that their coaches and players are very accessible if you would like to reach out!
Ah yes, soccer. I have grown to become a massive soccer fan since I arrived at Fairfield and that is mostly because of the people I have met. Everyone loves going to the games here, and I would say that behind basketball and lacrosse, people love attending a nice soccer game. It’s the fall, everyone’s getting settled back into campus and school hasn’t entirely picked up the pace yet. So, what better solution to all that free time than to head over to Lessing Field and hop into the student section? After all, our “red sea” gets loud and proud, so you’d better be ready for some excitement.
Swim and Dive (M&W)
Our Swim and Dive teams, both coached by Anthony Bruno, had a dominant past season. Fans of the swim and dive teams can head into the RecPlex and head straight through the door of the pool to check out any events. The swim and dive teams participate in events year round, so if you have a busy semester, you can always catch them on the flipside of Christmas break.
Another little fun fact while we’re on the topic: whenever the swim team is not using the pool, they have some of the players on the team lifeguard for students who would like to go and swim laps!
The men’s tennis team perfectly split the difference this past year and went an even .500 with a 9-9 record. As a guide to the tennis teams, you can find their home courts by the Walsh Athletic Center closer to the townhouses and the Levee.
There are three full courts attached to Walsh, so even if you want to go and play some tennis with some friends, the courts are always there for you!
The tennis teams play year round, similar to Swim and Dive, but they are mostly on the road for invitationals and other larger-scale events during the first semester of school. In the second half, you can find much more school-on-school events. If you want to view, there are some bleachers on the side of the court, but you can always grab a bite from the Levee and sit on the hill to get more of an aerial view.
Our field hockey team, without sugarcoating it, is incredible. As the most recent Northeast Conference Championship winner, the team was one of a few of our Division I teams that made it to their respective NCAA tournament. The team calls University Field their home, which, if you’re looking for directions, is right near the First Year Quad, adjacent to Leeber Road and Rafferty Stadium. The field is unique in the way that it is a different type of turf than Conway Field at Rafferty Stadium, which allows for field hockey balls to roll more easily.
I have so many good things to say about our volleyball team. The first thing, though, is that they are incredible at volleyball, end of story. Coach Todd Kress is one of the winningest coaches here at Fairfield and even led his squad to the opening round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament this past year. They have had a ton of up and down with COVID-19 but they have never let that stop them in their tracks.
From a fan’s perspective, the team played games in the converted court in the RecPlex field house last year, which was a strange adjustment. However, they will be back in action alongside both of our basketball teams in Fairfield University’s Arena and Convocation Center.
In my experiences, these games have not possessed the student sections I would like, because the team deserves a massive one. If I had one message to whoever is reading this, let’s pack the house next year for these games!!
I can’t force you to do anything, but when you come to Fairfield in the fall and begin thinking about clubs and activities to involve yourself in, the door to The Mirror is always open. If you have a passion for journalism, creative writing, making your voice heard (or simply like to watch and write about sports like me), come join us every monday night at 7 p.m. in BCC 104!s