Conferences: The New England Collegiate Athletic Conference has announced that it will dissolve, effective June 30. The NECC, which currently sponsors 14 sports and has produced 15 national champions over the years, contains nine institutions. It is in its 19th season of operation, but the league has been troubled in recent years by a fluctuating membership. "Of the 16 institutions in the NECC's membership (throughout its history), five have moved on to Division I, with another (State University of New York at Binghamton) slated to go in September 2001," said Commissioner William M. Moore. "Remaining institutions wanted the assurance of long-time stability, and other conferences could provide that." Franklin Pierce College, the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, New Hampshire College and Southern Connecticut State University have accepted invitations to the expanding Northeast-10 Conference. The University of Bridgeport will join the New York Collegiate Athletic Conference. Felician College and Teikyo Post University will continue play in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference, a provisional conference that is moving toward full Division II membership. Binghamton and the University of New Haven are expected to compete as Division II independents next year.
Milestones: Dianne Baker, Texas Woman's University, 600 wins in women's softball. Baker, who was honored with an NCAA Silver Anniversary Award in January, reached the milestone in an 8-0 victory over Northwood University February 15 in Texas Woman's University's first home game ever played under lights. "The 600 wins is nice," Baker said, "but I kept thinking what if we didn't win. Here we are opening our home schedule, we're under the lights for the first time, and we've got this buzz going around about 600 wins. We've got a few small areas dealing with concentration to work on, but I'm glad my players responded and made it a very special night." ... Mike Carey, Salem-Teikyo University, 250 wins in men's basketball. The landmark victory came January 29 in an 86-76 win over Shepherd College. Carey's teams have won five West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships and reached the Division II Final Four in 1997.
Bruce Pearl, University of Southern Indiana, 200 wins in men's basketball. Pearl reached the milestone in fewer games than any previous coach, requiring only 240 games in eight seasons. Everett Case of North Carolina State University reached 200 victories in 250 games, which Southern Indiana sports information director Ray Simmons says is the previous record. Pearl's 200th victory came in a 93-78 victory over Bellarmine College February 19 ... Pat Pecora, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, 300 wins in wrestling. Pecora earned the landmark victory with a 46-6 win over Gardner-Webb University in the NCAA Division II regional dual meets January 15. "It's a great feeling," Pecora said. "It makes me think about all the wrestlers who have gone through this program. We've been able to build a national championship program with high academic standards, hard-nosed wrestling and a family atmosphere" ... Jeff Reynolds, Wingate University, 50 wins in men's basketball.
Bob Schneider, West Texas A&M University, 500 wins in women's basketball. Schneider, the second-winningest active coach at the Division II level, reached the milestone with a 66-63 victory over Midwestern State University January 29. After that victory, his record stood at 500-148 in 22 collegiate seasons, including a 451-110 mark in 19 seasons at West Texas A&M. He has led the Lady Buffs to the postseason 12 times and was Division II coach of the year in 1996-97. Schneider also was a prominent high-school coach before embarking on his collegiate career. Overall, he has won more than 900 games .... Larry Sundby, St. Cloud State University, 200 wins in women's tennis. Sundby has been head coach at St. Cloud State for 13 seasons and has a career record of 200-85. His squads have finished no lower than second place in the North Central Conference 11 times. Counting high-school games, his career mark is 331-128.
Miscellaneous: The University of Southern Indiana ended the NCAA's longest home-court winning streak February 17 when it defeated defending Division II men's basketball championship Kentucky Wesleyan College, 81-78, at Owensboro, Kentucky. Kentucky Wesleyan had won 58 consecutive home games before Southern Indiana stopped the streak.
-- Compiled by David Pickle