Timeline of Progress
- 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 is established and dates are 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
The NAWC is rebranded as the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) and begins the first season of competition, new members include: Becker, Elms and Mount Ida Colleges. Membership is up to eight institutions. Championships will be conducted for 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 field hockey: Simmons College and Western New England College.
- Spring 2001
The North Atlantic Conference begins preliminary discussions with potential new members.
- Fall 2001
The North Atlantic Conference continues to expand postseason championship opportunities for its student-athletes. Five institutions apply and present to NAC members for admittance to the conference for the Fall 2002 academic year. Two institutions; Castleton State College (VT) and Johnson State College (VT) apply for full member status. Three Maine institutions are seeking associate membership for field hockey: Thomas College, Husson College and UMaine-Farmington. The NAC approves its first major expansion in 2 years, bringing the conference membership to 10 full members and five associate members.
- Spring 2002
The three 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 Presidents' Chair of the NAC. The automatic qualifier opportunities for women's sports begins a two year waiting period before being instituted. 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 three years, bringing the conference membership to 13 full members and two associate members.
- Fall 2003
The North Atlantic Conference continues to expand postseason 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, women's soccer, field hockey, women's cross country, men's soccer and men's cross country.
- Spring 2004
The NAC members meet at the NCAA Convention to continue to chart the future course for the conference. The members meet in Portsmouth, N.H. for a membership meeting and to set the agenda for the Presidents' 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, with Elms College winning and receiving an at-large bid to play in the NCAA softball championship. Presidents and Directors of Athletics meet for the first time in NAC history to discuss various issues on the future of the conference in which strategic planning, mission statement, travel and web development are discussed.
- Fall 2004
Tournament Champions in field hockey, men's and women's soccer, and women's volleyball receive the conference's automatic qualifier to participate in the NCAA Tournament. UMaine-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 Basketball Tournaments 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 into the NCAA Tournament. In 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 earned the 2005 NAC Tournament Title. UMaine-Farmington claimed the 2005 NAC Softball Championship for the first time in dramatic fashion, winning four-straight games, the final in extra innings over Elms. 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, Muller became 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 Chair of the NAC Presidents Council for an additional year.
- Spring 2006
President Dave Wolk of Castleton is elected to the postion 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 into the NCAA Baseball Tournament. The NAC begins to explore adding football as conference 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 an associate member 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 to the conference in that sport, while 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 and will begin competition in the Fall of 2008. St. Joseph's College of Maine is accepted as an associate member for field hockey, beginning competition in fall of 2008. The NAC 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 Conference as full members.
- Spring 2009
The North Atlantic Conference continues to expand postseason championship opportunities for its student-athletes with the addition of women's lacrosse and begin the waiting period for automatic qualification to the NCAA Tournament.
- Spring 2010
Colby Sawyer College and New England College apply for full membership consideration. Both institutions are accepted and will begin competition in the Fall of 2011.
- Fall 2011
Colby Sawyer College and New England College join Conference as full members.
- Spring 2012
Castleton earns the NAC's first women's lacrosse automatic qualifier awarded to the conference in that sport with an 18-11 win over Morrisville State.
- Spring 2013
The NAC Presidents Council affirmed its commitment to respect and inclusion by placing their support behind a project aimed at combatting homophobia on campuses and recognizing the benefit of diversity at each of its membership institutions.
- Fall 2014
Shannon O'Brien becomes the first associate commissioner of the North Atlantic Conference on August 25, 2014, replacing Jeff Weld, who served as the Communications Coordinator for the past three years in a part-time capacity. The 10 membership institutions of the NAC showed their commitment to promoting respect for all by developing a conference-wide You Can Play video project.
- Spring 2015
The NAC continues to expand the post season championship opportunities for its student-athletes with the addition of women's outdoor track and field. The NAC received national recognition from the NCAA after being selected as the February recipient of the Division III Diversity Spotlight Initiative for its work on the You Can Play video project.
- Fall 2015
The NAC SAAC commits to embracing the It's On Us campaign as a conference wide initiative.
- Spring 2016
The North Atlantic Conference continues to expand the post season championship opportunities for its student-athletes with the addition of men's outdoor track and field.
- Summer 2016
Marcella Zalot became the second ever full-time commissioner of the North Atlantic Conference on June 13, 2016. Inheriting the title from Julie Muller, who served as the NAC's first full-time commissioner and retired on June 30, 2016.
- Fall 2016
Castleton University graduate Rachel Bombardier, the 2015-16 NAC Woman of the Year, was named one of 30 Top Honorees for the 2016 NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Bombardier becomes the first NAC woman to be selected in the final 30 student-athletes throughout the history of the award. UMaine Presque Isle competes as an associate member in the men's and women's NAC cross country championships and in the women's volleyball regular season and postseason.
- Fall 2017
Castleton, Colby-Sawyer, Green Mountain, and New England College begin their final year of competition as full conference members after withdrawing from the NAC.
- Winter 2017
State University of New York (SUNY) at Canton and the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI) join the conference as full members, effective July 1, 2018.
- Spring 2018
The NAC announces that the State University of New York (SUNY) at Delhi will join the conference as an associate member in six sports, including men’s and women’s track and field (2018), men's golf, men's lacrosse and men's tennis (2018-19), and women's tennis (2019).
- Summer 2018
Kate Roy became the second ever full-time associate commissioner of the North Atlantic Conference on August 6, 2018, succeeding Shannon O'Brien, who served as the NAC's first full-time associate commissioner for four years.
- Fall 2018
The State University of New York (SUNY) at Canton and the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI) begin their first year of competition as full conference members. Castleton University joins the NAC as an associate in men's golf, while Lesley University joins the conference in women's tennis.
- The NAC announces that the State University of New York (SUNY) at Delhi will join the conference as a full member effective for the fall of 2019.