PAXTON, Mass – July 1st marks the new fiscal year for higher education institutions as well as their athletic departments. Anna Maria College athletics looks to new, and old, horizons as the department welcomes in three new sports and resurrects another.
In the Fall, equestrian begins its first year as a team at AMC. Led by director Lorene Farrar, who has worked at Anna Maria for more than 20 years and has ridden in Paxton for nearly a decade, and head coach Geralyn Szczurko, who has been a competitive riding instructor at Holiday Hill Equestrian Center since 2005. The squad will ride at Holiday Hill Equestrian Center in Rutland, Mass and will compete in events in the Fall of 2018 and the Spring of 2019.
The AMCATS will also welcome in men's and women's ice hockey for the 2018-2019 season. The Men's team will play their home schedule at Horgan Arena in Auburn, Mass while the Women's team will play their home games at New England Sports Center in Marlborough, Mass.
Anna Maria's women's ice hockey team will be led by head coach Michael Cox who comes to AMC with 25 years of collegiate and high school coaching experience. Most recently, Cox was the head women's hockey coach at Salve Regina University from 2006-2014 and is currently the program's all-time winningest coach with 101 victories and an overall record of 101-91-19 (.524%). In his eight years with the Seahawks, Coach Cox made the ECAC playoffs every year, reaching the semi-finals three times and the finals once. Prior to his time with the Seahawks, Cox served as an assistant at Boston College, Northeastern and Harvard where he was on the staff during their 33-1, national championship season. Mike began his coaching career at nearby Shrewsbury High School in 1997.
"I am honored and humbled to be selected the first coach of women's hockey at Anna Maria," said Cox. "From the outset, I was very impressed with the college's plan for launching a women's hockey program. This endeavor is going further the mission of this rich and vibrant Catholic institution while also giving more female hockey players a chance to play collegiately."
The Women's team will bring in between 20-25 student-athletes from all over North America including the American Midwest, Alaska and Canada. The team will begin play on October 26th with a trip to Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y. and will open their home schedule at New England Sports Center against another newly formed women's program, Suffolk University on November 2nd. The squad will play a home-and-home against Cox's former team, Salve Regina University, on November 30th at home and December 8th on the road in Newport, R.I.
Anna Maria will also begin Men's hockey play in 2018-2019 with head coach Dave McCauley at the helm. A native of Weymouth, Mass, McCauley comes to the AMCATS with 20 years of coaching experience at the high school and college level. Coach McCauley ran the Bay State Breakers Junior Hockey Club out of Kingston, Mass since 1998. During that time, he also served as an assistant coach at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass and has also coached at Weymouth and Norwell High Schools.
"I am honored that Anna Maria College has selected me to be their first Men's Ice Hockey Coach." Said David McCauley. "I have been impressed with the professionalism and vision that Anna Maria has put forth for the program. I look forward to the challenge with great excitement and enthusiasm."
The Men's team will welcome in close to 30 student-athletes from all over the World, including France, Canada, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Italy while also filling the roster with players from a handful of US states including California, Michigan, Florida, and of course Massachusetts to name a few. The team will begin their inaugural season on Monday October 22nd when they take to the road to play Worcester State at the newly built Worcester Ice Arena. Their home schedule will open on Wednesday, October 24th against another Worcester opponent, Assumption College, at Horgan Arena. Other teams peppering the AMCATS schedule are Pennsylvania opponents Chatham University, Bryn Athyn, Neumann and Wilkes University. AMC will also face-off against two of New England's better programs, Wesleyan and Amherst.
The lone team that is being added for the 2018-2019 year that previously existed at Anna Maria is Women's lacrosse which will be led by Spencer, Mass native and Clark University graduate Julie Beer. Women's lacrosse began play in 2009 but after six seasons the team was cut after the 2014 season. Coach Beer will resume the program in the Spring of 2019 for the first time in five years.
Julie Beer joins the AMC staff after spending eight seasons at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky from 2009-2017, a program that she started. In her eight seasons she posters an 86-39 records with 10+ win seasons in seven of those years. She also led the program to three SAA Championships in 2012, 2014 and 2016.
"As we introduce women's lacrosse back to Anna Maria, Beer is the perfect person for the job. She is a proven winner and we look forward to adding her coaching and administrational expertise to our staff," said Athletics Director, Serge DeBari.
Though the team's schedule is not yet out, the AMCATS will compete in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference beginning in the 2019 season.
For more information on all of these coaches, the programs themselves and recruiting information visit goamcats.com and click to the team's individual pages.