NJIT Highlanders

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NJIT Highlanders
Logo
UniversityNew Jersey Institute of Technology
ConferenceAmerica East (primary)
Southland (men's & women's tennis)
EIVA (men's volleyball)
NCAADivision I
Athletic directorLenny Kaplan
LocationNewark, New Jersey
Varsity teams19
Basketball arenaWellness and Events Center
Baseball stadiumKean University
Soccer stadiumJ. Malcolm Simon Stadium
Other venuesPrudential Center
MascotThe Highlander
NicknameHighlanders
ColorsRed and white[1]
   
Websitewww.njithighlanders.com

The NJIT Highlanders, formerly the New Jersey Tech Highlanders, are the varsity sport members of the Division I NCAA-affiliated sports teams of New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). There are ten men's teams, seven women's teams, and three club teams along with a variety of intramural teams. The school's primary conference is the America East Conference. In November 2017 NJIT opened the Wellness and Events Center (WEC) which incorporates upgraded facilities for most Division 1 sports including a 3,500-seat arena for Basketball and Volleyball.[2]

[edit]

NJIT is located in an area of Newark presently known as University Heights, and formerly known as the Newark Highlands. In addition, NJIT's mailing address used to be High Street until the street was renamed in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. These various references to 'High' are, in large measure, what led the school's students to choose The Highlander as its mascot. Upon moving up to NCAA Division I in 2006 -07, NJIT athletics updated its graphics. This included a new logo which depicts a stylized Scottish Highlander warrior in traditional garb.

Sports sponsored[edit]

Men's sports Women's sports
Baseball Basketball
Basketball Cross country
Cross country Soccer
Lacrosse Tennis
Soccer Track and field
Swimming and diving Volleyball
Tennis
Track and field
Volleyball
Co-ed sports
Fencing
† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor
America East Conference logo.svg

A member of the America East Conference, NJIT sponsors teams in ten men's, seven women's, and one coed NCAA sanctioned sports.

Move to Division I[edit]

NJIT athletics moved to NCAA Division I, the top level of college athletics, in 2006.

Prior to the reclassification of the athletic program, all teams competed at the Division II level. In the process of reclassification, both men's and women's soccer programs moved up to Division I faster than the other programs by taking advantage of a policy that allows lower division schools to elevate one sport in each gender to Division I in two years. NJIT men's soccer became a full member of NCAA Division I with championship eligibility at the start of the 2005 season. NJIT women's soccer began a similar two-year process in 2005, with full Division I status and championship eligibility arriving with the 2007 season.

NJIT athletics officially gained across-the-board active membership in NCAA Division I, beginning September 1, 2009.[3]

Men's lacrosse, which was elevated from club to full varsity status for the 2015 season (2014–15 school year), competed as an independent through the 2019 season, after which the team joined the Northeast Conference.[4]

Facilities[edit]

Besides the on-campus Estelle & Zoom Fleisher Athletic Center, the NJIT basketball teams also play at the Prudential Center in downtown Newark.
The NJIT Cross-Country Teams practice at the nearby Branch Brook Park and Van Cortlandt Park in NYC.

Branch Brook Park, located approximately a 1/2 mile away from campus is the home for NJIT Cross Country teams.

The Estelle and Zoom Fleisher Athletic Center, was the former athletic facility for the NJIT Highlanders. The facility and adjoining field were demolished in 2016 to make way for the Wellness & Events Center and Lubetkin Field at Mal Simon Stadium. Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium was the former home of the NJIT Baseball team. The facility was demolished in 2019 to make way for a commercial-residential project named Riverfront Square.

Conference history[edit]

NJIT competed independently until 2009, when the Highlanders became a part of the Great West Conference in the summer of 2008 as one of six programs to form a Division I all-sports league that began full conference scheduling and championships in 2009–10. The Great West Conference was formerly a football-only league. Chicago State University joined the conference in October 2008 making the total full-sports members to 7.[5]

The newly expanded conference was not eligible for automatic Division I championship postseason qualification, men's basketball tournament champion was granted an automatic bid to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT).[6]

During the 2012–13 basketball season, the NCAA underwent major changes in conference realignment where the WAC added three of five Great West schools, while Houston Baptist accepted an invitation to the Southland Conference. With only NJIT left, the conference folded. Although the Northeast Conference and Atlantic Sun Conference were discussed,[7] it was not offered a spot in either for the 2013–2014 season.

Some teams began competing as associate members in various conferences. The Men's volleyball team joined the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA). In 2013–14 the NJIT men's swimming and diving team began competing in the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (CCSA). In 2014 NJIT women's tennis became an associate member of the America East Conference and in 2014-15 NJIT men's soccer began play in the Sun Belt Conference.

After two years as an independent, NJIT announced on June 12, 2015, that it would become a full member of the Atlantic Sun Conference, now known as the ASUN Conference, beginning nineteen days later on July 1.[8] The university confirmed on June 12, 2020, its departure from the ASUN after five years to join the America East Conference beginning nineteen days later on July 1.[9] With the America East not sponsoring tennis for either men or women, both tennis teams were independent in the 2020–21 school year before joining the Southland Conference in July 2021.[10]

Club Sports[edit]

NJIT plays club-level ice hockey at the Prudential Center in the Colonial States College Hockey Conference.

Recognitions[edit]

Men's Soccer In 1960, NJIT was NAIA co-champions with Elizabethtown College. The game went into four overtimes. The game ended in a 2–2 draw.

NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Recognitions for futility
NJIT's Men's basketball program set the record of the most winless team in D-I history (see 2007–08 NJIT Highlanders men's basketball team) in the 2007–2008 season with a losing streak of 51 games, breaking Sacramento State’s old D-I record. This acknowledgment has given NJIT's athletic program national recognition for futility. The unofficial NCAA record was set during its second NCAA Division I transitional season. It came despite a promising debut 5–24 Division 1 transitional season (2006–2007) whereby the rookie team won its first two matches (away and home).[11] With a new head coach (Jim Engles), an entire new team of coaching staffs and additional new recruits, the NJIT Men's basketball team ended a 51-game losing streak on January 21, 2009, with a 61–51 win over the Bryant University Bulldogs ending the 2008–2009 season with a 1–30 record. The Highlanders improved the following season (2009–2010) and ended with a 10–21 record[12] during its first official NCAA Division 1 season.

It currently holds 3 NCAA Division I Men's basketball reclassifying records:[13] Defeats in a winless Season (29 games), Consecutive Defeats in a Season (29 games) and Consecutive Defeats (51 games).

NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Recognitions for best performances
Despite performing way below Division I standard during its reclassifying seasons from Division II to Division I, the Highlanders till this day still hold several Division III Men's Basketball records more than a decade after elevation from Division III. These records[14] include:

  • All-time best 3-pt field-goal percentage in one season (67% by Reggie James in 1989 ).
  • All-time 2nd best 3-pt field-goal percentage in one season (63.1% by Chris Miles in 1987).
  • All-time 3rd best 3-pt field-goal percentage in one season (61.3% by Chris Miles in 1989).
  • All-time highest number of block-shots in one season (198 by Tory Black in 1997).
  • All-time highest number of block-shots per game in one season (7.62 by Tory Black in 1997).
  • All-time highest 3-pt field-goal percentage (min 100 made) by a team in one season (62% on 124 of 200 shootings in 1989).

Noteworthy accomplishments in Division I[edit]

  • Senior captain Sabrina Baby led the nation in women's volleyball "Digs per set" in year 2009.[15] She was also selected as an Academic All-American (third-team) by College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).[16]
  • The women's volleyball team led the nation in "Digs per set" in year 2009.
  • Christian Baumbach won the 101st annual IC4A Cross Country 'University Event' race in 2009.[17]
  • The NJIT (club level) Ice Hockey Team captured its first Great Northeast Collegiate Hockey Conference Championship title (Division II) in 2011 by defeating Muhlenberg College 3–2 in overtime.[18]
  • The NJIT Women's Tennis Team captured its first Great West Conference title beating North Dakota by a score of 4–2.[19]
  • The NJIT Men's Basketball Team defeated the 17th ranked Michigan Wolverines 72–70 on the road in their first match against a ranked opponent.[20]
  • Mamadou Guirassy won the NCAA Division 1 Golden Boots Award (soccer) in 2017.
  • The NJIT Men's Soccer Team captured its first ASUN Tournament title in 2020.[21]
  • The NJIT Men's Baseball Team earned NJIT's first victory (any sport) in NCAA tournament defeating Northeastern University by a score of 3–2 in June 2021.[22]
  • The NJIT Men and Women's Fencing teams finished fourth at the 2021 National Collegiate Men's and Women's Fencing Championships.[1][2]

Notable Highlanders[edit]

See also[edit]

List of NCAA Division I schools that have never sponsored football

References[edit]

  1. ^ NJIT Branding Guidelines (PDF). January 1, 2015. Retrieved April 10, 2016.
  2. ^ "Education NJIT cuts ribbon on WEC, an athletic facility and more (slideshow)". ROI. 10 November 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  3. ^ 'NJIT: NJIT Officially Gains Active NCAA Division I Membership'
  4. ^ "NEC Welcomes NJIT as Men's Lacrosse Associate Member" (Press release). Northeast Conference. October 19, 2018. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  5. ^ "'Great West Conference: About Great West Conference'". Archived from the original on 2010-04-18. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
  6. ^ "'Great West Conference: Great West Granted Automatic Bid Into CIT Field'". Archived from the original on 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
  7. ^ "Conference Realignment". CollegeSportsInfo.com. 2016-03-11. Retrieved 2016-04-10.
  8. ^ "NJIT Athletics Finds Its Home in the Sun," New Jersey Institute of Technology Athletics, Friday, June 12, 2015. Retrieved February 4, 2021
  9. ^ "NJIT to Join America East Conference as 10th Member Institution - NJIT Highlanders". NJIT Highlanders. 2020-06-12. Retrieved 2020-06-13.
  10. ^ "NJIT Men's and Women's Tennis Joins Southland Conference" (Press release). NJIT Highlanders. June 22, 2021. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  11. ^ 'NJIT Men's Basketball Team Media Guide'
  12. ^ 'NJIT Highlanders: 2009-10 Men's Basketball Schedule'
  13. ^ 'NCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball Records (2009 Edition)'
  14. ^ 'NCAA Division 3 Men's Basketball Records (2009 Edition)'
  15. ^ 'NJIT: Sabrina Baby and NJIT Claim NCAA Division I Statistical Championships'
  16. ^ 'NJIT: Sabrina Baby Named to ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Team'
  17. ^ 'NJIT's Christian Baumbach Wins Prestigious IC4A Championship Race'
  18. ^ NJIT Highlanders : WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS! - Co-Captain Colin McArdle scores late in OT for the Highlanders' first-ever championship
  19. ^ Women's Tennis Captures Great West Conference Title
  20. ^ "NJIT stuns No. 17 Michigan with critical 3-pointer"
  21. ^ "Men's Soccer Honored with ASUN Conference Championship Rings". New Jersey Institute of Technology Athletics. Retrieved 2021-06-08.
  22. ^ "NJIT first victory in NCAA Tournament"
  23. ^ 'NJIT : Hall of Fame Induction Class of 1996'
  24. ^ "'NSCAA: All-America Awards (1980)'". Archived from the original on 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2010-08-11.

External links[edit]