Sailing To Become Tulane’s 17th Varsity Sport

NEW ORLEANS – Tulane University and Troy Dannen, Ben Weiner director of athletics chair, announced Thursday, June 15, that the sport of sailing will be elevated from club to intercollegiate varsity status beginning with the 2018-19 academic year.

         Since coming on board to lead Tulane Athletics, Dannen evaluated the feasibility to expand the Green Wave's sport sponsorship by increasing the varsity athletics opportunities for men and women. After careful consideration of facility availability, established interest and potential for competitive success, combined with generous support from Elizabeth "Libby" Connolly Alexander, '84, and Robert Alexander as well as Community Sailing New Orleans, Inc., it was determined that sailing would become Tulane's newest fully funded varsity sport.

         "Expansion and enhancement of participation opportunities are a goal of every intercollegiate athletic program," said Dannen "Today, Tulane realizes that goal because of the vision Libby and Robert have for the role of sailing in the lives of Tulane students. Their generous financial support of that vision will create opportunity for generations of student-athletes to come."

         Tulane's varsity sailing program will comprise of women's, coed and team racing teams. The current team will continue to compete as a club for the 2017-18 academic year and then will elevate to varsity status for the 2018-19 academic year. With the current infrastructure already in place, the club team will continue to compete a similar schedule this fall as in previous seasons.

         "This is a great day for New Orleans and a great day for the sport of sailing," said John Manard, president of Community Sailing New Orleans. "At its core, our mission at Community Sailing is to make sailing available to all in our community, overcoming the economic and physical obstacles that have existed. Having Tulane, with its commitment to excellence in this varsity sport and to community service, join the family of users at the Community Sailing Center is a very important step for the Sailing Center and the community."

         Tulane becomes the 15th NCAA Division I school to offer sailing as a varsity sport for women, including Boston College, College of Charleston, Cornell, Dartmouth, George Washington, Georgetown, Hampton, Harvard, Hawai'i, Navy, Old Dominion, South Florida, Stanford and Yale.

         With the elevation of sailing to the varsity level, Tulane will now sponsor 17 intercollegiate programs (six for men, 11 for women). Sailing is the first addition to the varsity sports offerings at Tulane since beach volleyball and bowling were added as varsity sports beginning with the 2011-12 academic year.

         A national search will begin immediately for the program's head coach. The new head coach will lead the club team this upcoming season and the transition of the program into varsity status the following season.

         Sailing at Tulane dates back to its founding in 1941. The club team has had success throughout its existence, boasting its most competitive period during the 1970s, '80s and '90s. In 1974, Tulane earned the Leonard M. Fowle Trophy to claim the national championship. The Fowle Trophy is awarded annually to the team of the college or university with the greatest number of Fowle Trophy points. The points are determined using the composite results of the Women's Singlehanded, Men's Singlehanded, Intermediate Match Race, Women's Dinghy Semifinals/Finals, Team Race, and Coed Dinghy Semifinals/Final Championship regattas.

         Since 1968, Tulane sailors have amassed 52 Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) All-America honors by 28 individuals.

         Tulane also boasts several sailing alumni who have competed in the Summer Olympics, highlighted by Shelby "Buddy" Friedrichs Jr., '62, and Barton W.B. Jahncke, '61, capturing gold medals in the 1968 Summer Olympics. John Dane III, who holds two degrees from Tulane, sailed with his son-in-law, Austin Sperry, in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

         School reps said with the funds generously endowed to begin the program including an operational budget and coaching position, the investment will also aid the construction of a new facility through Tulane's partnership with the Community Sailing New Orleans, Inc., which will eventually become the new home of Tulane sailing.

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