There was some big sporting news on a smaller scale made on Tuesday. Come the fall of 2018, the Southfield-based Lawrence Technological University will be playing football for the first time in more than 70 years.
— LTU Athletics (@LTUAthletics) January 23, 2017
The private school, which holds roughly 4,500 students, will make football it’s 25th varsity athletic program, men or women. Sports were only reinstated back at LTU as recent as 2011. As far as football in concerned, it will be the first time since World War II that the school will field a football team. The program was discontinued after those affiliated with the university left to help in whatever efforts they could for the war. It was briefly reinstated post-war, but the school could not garner enough interest, so they discontinued it again.
The team will be playing a newly-constructed AstroTurf field that was put in last summer, a $1M ‘gift’ courtesy of an unnamed, anonymous donor. The school also recently completed a capital campaign last summer, exceeding their goal of $100M, an effort that will be funding things like scholarships and academic facilities. Stadium and player amenities are also on the agenda of additions.
The school’s head football coach will be Jeff Duvendeck. Here’s a crash course on the Flushing, MI-native. He was most recently the head coach at Culver-Stockton College in Missouri, which is a part of the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). He held that position for six seasons. Prior to that, he’s made multiple coaching stops, including a bunch in the state of Michigan. Among the various positions include two seasons as a graduate assistant at Michigan State under head coach Mark Dantonio.
Lawrence Tech athletics is a part of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) and Michigan Collegiate Hockey Conference (MCHC), as well as the aforementioned NAIA for its athletic programs. The football team will stand as an independent for the 2018 season and then join the Mid-States Football Association of the NAIA beginning in 2019.
There are currently three schools in the state of Michigan that play college football at the NAIA level – Concordia University (Ann Arbor, MI), Davenport University (Grand Rapids, MI) and Siena Heights University (Adrian, MI).