MORRISVILLE, N.Y. - The Empire 8 Athletic Conference officially announced the addition of Morrisville State College as an affiliate member beginning with the 2015 season.
Morrisville State has been a football-only member of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) since the 2008 year, and is coming off its best season since transitioning to Division III in 2006. The Mustangs produced a 3-7 overall record, finished sixth in conference standings at 2-5, had nine all-conference selections including NJAC Offensive Player of the Year, Lemar Johnson (Ossining, N.Y.).
“We are excited to welcome Morrisville to the Empire 8,” said Empire 8 Commissioner Chuck Mitrano. “For many, many years football fans hoped to see an elite football conference comprised of the New York State institutions and we are excited to make that a reality.”
Alfred University, Hartwick College, Ithaca College, St. John Fisher and Utica College are all full-time E8 members that sponsor football. In 2013, Buffalo State College joined as an affiliate member and will be joined by SUNY Brockport in the fall 2014, followed by Cortland State and Morrisville in the fall 2015.
Empire 8 football teams finished 21-10 in non-conference play in 2013, and have a mark of 259-122 against non-conference Division III opponents since the 2002 season. There have been 33 postseason victories in the last 12 seasons, with reigning conference champion Ithaca advancing to the second round and at-large selection St. John Fisher advancing to the national quarterfinals in 2013.
“We are very excited about joining the Empire 8 Conference for football,” said Morrisville State Director of Athletics Greg Carroll. “It is truly one of the premiere Division III football conferences in the country, and each of its members has had a long history and tradition of football success. While Morrisville State is still an emerging DIII member, we look forward to building our own football traditions within the conference. We are grateful to our friends in the Empire 8 for this opportunity and look forward to forging new regional rivalries.”
“Everyone involved with our program is excited and humbled for the opportunity to join the Empire 8 Conference in 2015,” head coach Curt Fitzpatrick said. “This is certainly a major step forward for our program, and we are looking forward to the opportunity to compete against some of the great and storied programs the E8 has to offer.”
Fitzpatrick is no stranger to the Empire 8, having competed both as a student-athlete and coach within the conference. He came to Morrisville State from the coaching staff at Utica College where he served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for five seasons. Prior joining the Pioneers, Fitzpatrick spent two seasons at his alma mater, St. John Fisher College, as a quarterback coach following a record setting season as a senior in which he led the Cardinals to back-to-back Empire 8 titles and NCAA appearances, reaching the final four in 2006.
“As a former Empire 8 player and assistant coach, I know first-hand the level of football in this conference, and I am confident that it will only get better from here on out,” said Fitzpatrick.