Furman Wants to Play in 2014; Program Planning Gone Plaid

ANNAPOLIS, MD - JUNE 16: Lacrosse fans go up for a free t-shirt during a timeout of the Chesapeake Bayhawks and Hamilton Nationals game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on June 16, 2012 in Annapolis, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The S.S. Furman Paladins wasn't expected to leave port until 2015. It looks like that plan of voyage has been shelved for another: The ship's going to be seaworthy in 2014 whether it's ready or not; make sure to bring lots of buckets in case there are leaks.

With Richie Meade officially on board as Chief Operating Paladin, Furman has decided to accelerate its move to Division I by a year:

Furman University's new men's lacrosse program will begin intercollegiate play in the spring of 2014, a year in advance of initial projections, and Paladin Stadium will serve as the venue for all home games, director of athletics Gary Clark said today.

"When we announced the addition of men's lacrosse in February, our plan was to confer with our then-to-be-named new head coach on when to start competition," said Clark. "With the hiring of Richie Meade and all the positive momentum and interest that continues to accrue on behalf of the program, we have decided 2014 will be the inaugural year of play for Furman men's lacrosse and Paladin Stadium will serve as their home field."

"Beginning play in 2014 will be a tremendous task for our program but one I firmly believe is in the best interest of Furman lacrosse and a challenge the young men we are recruiting will be excited to meet," said Meade, who was introduced as Furman's new coach on May 26 in Foxborough, Mass., prior to the start of the NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship.

Furman still doesn't have a conference or, like Division I-caliber players yet, but that's just background music to a pot luck dinner in which folks all showed up on time but forgot to bring a dish to pass around.

What I find most interesting about Furman's press release is not the fact that the program will be joining Division I a year before the university initially told the world, but that the school dedicated about half of the release (which was intended to notify the world of its accelerated participation plans) to the stadium in which the program will play:

  • "Paladin Stadium is the home of Furman football, which has compiled a 151-41-1 record (.785) and claimed 10 Southern Conference championships, as well as the 1988 I-AA (FCS) national championship, since moving into the facility in 1981." AND THIS ONE TIME I CAUGHT A FROG AND IT JUMPED AND THEN MY DAD KILLED IT WITH AN ACETYLENE TORCH BECAUSE HE THOUGHT IT WAS A WITCH.
  • "While conference affiliation for Furman men's lacrosse continues to be explored, the decision to play games in 16,000-seat Paladin Stadium guarantees a spectacular home venue for the program on one of the nation's most beautiful campuses." To which an athletic administrator added, in a hushed tone, "If we don't win, it'll be the most spectacular 16,000-seat stadium in which people don't watch lacrosse."
  • "The stadium features a 17x32-foot LED static scoreboard/messageboard, which was installed in 2009." Which is obviously why you accelerate a program's entrance into Division I by a year.

It's like a kid trying to round out a five-page book report at school. Jeez.

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