DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University will add softball as a varsity sport and increase the number of available scholarships for women’s fencing, rowing, women’s swimming and diving and women’s track and field to provide each program with the maximum limit allowed by the NCAA, as announced on Monday by Vice President and Director of Athletics Dr. Kevin White.
“Duke University is fully committed to providing the most complete educational and athletic opportunities for women,” said White. “Adding both softball and new scholarships will enhance and enrich the collective experiences for female student-athletes. Specifically, softball will be a great addition to our varsity programs because it is played at the highest level in the Atlantic Coast Conference.”
With the addition of softball, Duke increases its cumulative varsity sport program total to 27, including 13 men’s programs and 14 women’s sports.
The initial phase of the softball implementation timeline includes development strategies and facility construction with an anticipated first season of varsity competition coming in the spring of 2018.
The women’s swimming and diving program will see its number of available scholarships increase from its current two to 14, the maximum limit allowed by the NCAA.
“This is very exciting news and the possibilities are endless,” said men’s and women’s head coach Dan Colella. “The support from the athletic department will enable us to be a team that in coming years will contend for conference titles and compete at a high level nationally. We’re very thankful for the support of Dr. White and the administration.”
Under the direction of Colella, who is in his ninth season at the helm of the men’s and women’s programs, Duke has produced four individual NCAA titles, 19 All-America selections, 18 individual ACC titles, 35 All-ACC selections, two Olympic medalists and two Academic All-Americans. The Blue Devil women have finished as high as 19th at the NCAA Championships and sixth at the ACC Championships under the watch of Colella and his staff, while the Duke men have finished as high as 17th at NCAAs and fifth at the conference meet.