History of Regis Athletics

Founded in 1927 as a Catholic liberal arts institution for women, Regis College did not begin its first athletic program until 1982. Regis began competitive sports in the late 1940s. Edwina Hughes and Olive Nolan started a basketball team in 1948; the team played against Emmanuel, Clark, and Newton College of the Sacred Heart.

Field hockey was started in 1950 with participation in play days at Wellesley College and Jackson College (Tufts) being common through 1953. Field hockey disappeared in the 1950s and was replaced by volleyball. Volleyball began in 1955 with early competition in play days, but moved to play against other colleges in 1962.

From 1962-1967 marked the existence of the sailing program. The current sports era began with the planning for the new athletic complex and the hiring of Dave Cowens as the first athletic director. The present facility opened in November 1981. Cowens marked the opening of the facility with the First Annual Regis College Sports Festival, which hosted Brandeis, Mt. Holyoke, and Wellesley. The teams competed in basketball, cross-country and swimming.

Cowens also began the Mother Regis Award, given to the most outstanding senior athlete. It is now known as the Regis-Casserly Award, presented to the top male and female graduating student-athletes for excellence in academics, athletics, leadership, and service.

Judy Burling would become director of athletics in 1982 and serve almost 20 years. In that time Regis College would join the Commonwealth Coast Conference and National Collegiate Athletic Association.

In 1991, head coach Donna Tanner and the women's basketball program made its first appearance in the Commonwealth Coast Conference Championship. The then Beacons, would win in 1991, and return to the CCC finals three other times (1993-94, 1994-95, 1995-96), winning back-to-back titles during 1993-1995.

Also during the mid-1990s, softball made its first CCC Championship appearance in 1995. The Beacons would also win the finals that year.

The Beacons name stood until 1996 when a school-wide contest to rename the teams produced the Pride as its new mascot. To symbolize the Pride, a lioness was drawn and became the visual representation of Regis College Athletics.

However, the mark did not become a prominent fixture until 2001.

The "Lioness" represented the all-women's institution for six years when Regis College made the decision to become a co-educational institution in 2007. With the introduction of men to the community, a lion was added to the lioness.

In 2009 the visual mark changed again. The Pride mascot did not change, only the visual representation. Each mark, and its years used are included.

The first two men's programs to be introduced were basketball, coached by Nathan Hager, and swimming and diving, coached by Mindy Williams. Williams was also the coach for the women's program.

Beginning in 2008, Jon Keefe became the men's soccer head coach, and he and the team took the field as the third male varsity sport. In March of 2009 Regis College began construction of its outdoor facilities. The facilities included an eight-lane track, synthetic turf field lined for lacrosse, field hockey, and soccer. It also included a new softball diamond and six tennis courts. In 2009, men's volleyball, lacrosse, and tennis joined varsity status.

In 2011, Regis moved to the New England Collegiate Conference (NCAA), experiencing tremendous success over its six-year run in the league which included 30 regular season and 29 tournament championships. Under head tennis coach John Ciarleglio, both the men's and women's teams won five tournament titles with women's basketball doing the same under Julie Plant and later Angela Santa Fe. Women's lacrosse was introduced as an NECC sport in 2013 and, with Courtney Duggan at the helm, won every regular season game and tournament title until then end of the Pride's run as an NECC member.

The Pride would leave the NECC in 2017 and become a member of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference of which it is currently a member under the direction of Dean of Athletics Pam Roecker hired the same year.

*History of athletics was compiled by various sources. Please contact the Regis sports information office for any discrepancies at (781) 768-8661 or by email at