Athletics

About Amherst Athletics

Dunleavy

Amherst College has the oldest athletics program in the nation, dating back to a compulsory physical fitness regimen that was put in place for all students in 1860. Today, over a third of the student body participates in varsity sports with eighty percent involved in intramural and club sports teams. The school's 27 intercollegiate sports teams are known as the Lord Jeffs.

Amherst College student-athletes have successfully blended academics and athletics for decades. In addition to capturing nine NCAA Division III team championships - including six in the past seven years - and 70 NCAA individual titles, the Jeffs have earned 31 Academic All-America selections, including 14 since 2008.

One of about 450 members of the NCAA’s Division III, Amherst student-athletes compete for the love of the game. The college experience is a time of learning and growth a chance to follow passions and develop potential. For student-athletes in Division III, all of this happens most importantly in the classroom and through earning an academic degree. The Division III experience provides for passionate participation in a competitive athletic environment, where student-athletes push themselves to excellence and build upon their academic success. And student-athletes are encouraged to pursue the full spectrum of opportunities available during their time in college. In this way, DIII provides an integrated environment for student-athletes to take responsibility for their own paths, follow their passions and find their potential through a comprehensive educational experience.

Amherst College also belongs to the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), which includes Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, Connecticut College, Hamilton, Middlebury, Trinity, Tufts, Wesleyan and Williams College. Amherst is also a member of the “Little Three,” an unofficial athletic conference comprised of rivals Williams and Wesleyan.

One of the nation’s premier athletic programs, Amherst has placed in the top four of the NACDA Director's Cup in the NCAA Division III in each of the last six years, including fourth in 2007 and 2008, third in 2009, second in 2010 and fourth in both 2011 and 2012 . Other Amherst Athletics highlights:

  • The first intercollegiate baseball game was played between Williams and Amherst on July 1, 1859. Amherst won, 73-32.
  • The first Harvard College loss on Soldiers Field was in 1903. They lost 6-0 to Amherst.
  • The Amherst-Williams football rivalry dates back to 1884 and is called "Biggest Little Game in America."
  • Pratt Field, the third-oldest NCAA football playing site in the nation, is undergoing an extensive renovation that also will add a new fieldhouse, grandstands, and track. The project will be completed by Fall 2013.
  • In 1999, the Amherst women's tennis team won the Division III National Championship, by a score of 5-2, over arch-rival Williams College. It was Amherst's first team National Championship.
  • In 2003, the Amherst women's lacrosse team won the Division III National Championship, by a score of 11-9, over NESCAC rival Middlebury College.
  • In 2007, the Amherst men's basketball team won the Division III National Championship, by a score of 80-67, over Virginia Wesleyan College.
  • In 2007, the Amherst women's cross country team won the Division III Cross Country National Championship.
  • In 2009, the Amherst women's ice hockey team won the Division III National Championship, by a score of 4-3 in OT over Elmira College.
  • In 2010, the Amherst women's ice hockey team repeated and won the Division III National Championship, by a score of 7-2 over Norwich University. This was the first team in the school's history to repeat as national champions.
  • In 2011, the Amherst women's basketball team won the Division III National Championship for the first time in the program's history.
  • In 2011, the Amherst men's tennis team won the Division III National Championship for the first time in the program's history.
  • In 2013, the Amherst men's basketball team won the Division III National Championship for the second time in the program's history.

Club and intramural athletics
Amherst fields several club athletic teams, including rugby, soccer, wrestling, water polo, ultimate, crew, fencing, sailing and skiing. Intramural sports include tennis, golf, basketball, volleyball and softball.