KSU athletics wins sixth MAC championship since 2007

Douglas Gulasy

Another day, another Mid-American Conference championship.

The Kent State field hockey team’s 1-0 win over Ohio in the final of the MAC Tournament at Murphy-Mellis Field brought the Flashes their first MAC title since 2002. It also continued Kent State’s recent dominance of the conference.

Since the 2007 fall season, six of the 14 varsity sports at Kent State have won MAC regular season or tournament titles, and two other teams finished in second. Also, 15 Kent State athletes have won individual conference titles in the past year.

“We want every program to contend for a MAC championship, and they are doing that,” said Laing Kennedy, Kent State director of athletics. “What does that say? It says a lot about Kent State University, it says a lot about our coaches and our student-athletes (and) the quality of our student-athletes.

“They’re championship programs. Not to sound kind of arrogant about it, but at Kent State we play for championships. That’s our goal, that’s our operating procedure.”

Kennedy especially pointed out the teams that had won both regular season and tournament titles in the past year. The men’s basketball, gymnastics, softball and now the field hockey team have all won both championships in the same season since fall 2007.

“That’s hard to do,” Kennedy said, “win the regular season and the tournament (championship).”

Field hockey coach Kathleen Schanne said the athletic department’s commitment to all Kent State teams is a major factor in their success.

Kent State MAC championships in the past year

Gymnastics (2008): Regular season title, tournament title

Men’s basketball (2008): Regular season title, tournament title

Women’s golf (2008): Tournament title

Softball (2008): Regular season title, tournament title

Baseball (2008): Regular season title

Field hockey (2008): Regular season title, tournament title

“I think you can kind of see it,” Schanne said. “The whole administration’s out here (for the championship game). The support is unbelievable, from getting us everything from this field, Murphy-Mellis Field, (and) having a great supporter like Mel Mellis help us out with his wife.

“Just the fantastic support of the administration, I’d say, is huge. They let us coach our teams, and I feel nothing but support. It’s a big part of it.”

Kennedy said he expects the success to continue because of the quality of athletes Kent State currently has and the athletes it will continue to recruit.

“I think our future is very bright,” he said. “You look at our programs, in terms of class, we’re young. Every team seems to be young. Marquee players on our field hockey team (are) freshmen, first-year players. You look at our volleyball team: They’re very young. You look at our golf program – very, very young. So I think our future is very, very bright.”

Contact assistant sports editor Douglas Gulasy at [email protected].