PAWTUCKET, R.I. – The Little East Conference was developed as a basketball only conference in 1986 and baseball didn't become an official Little East Conference sponsored sport until 1997. The Little East Conference inherited several great baseball programs, including Eastern Connecticut State and the University of Southern Maine and the two programs made a historic statement by putting the Little East Conference on the baseball map after winning back-to-back national championships in 1997 and 1998.
Both programs had already claimed NCAA Division III National Championships prior to 1997 and have been receiving national recognition for nearly 20-years. Eastern Connecticut State became the first program in New England to win multiple national championships after winning the titles in 1982 and 1990. Southern Maine reached the pinnacle of the Division III baseball world in 1991.
Both programs were led by head coaches that would go on to be inducted into several Halls of Fame, including the American Baseball Coaches Association. The Warriors from Eastern Connecticut State were led by head coach Bill Holowaty and the Huskies from Southern Maine are led by head coach Ed Flaherty. In their careers, Coach Holowaty and Coach Flaherty have combined for over 2,300 wins, with over 77 years of combined coaching experience and have combined for six NCAA Division III National Championships, including back-to-back titles in 1997 (USM) and 1998 (ECSU). Southern Maine defeated Wooster 15-1 in Salem, Virginia to claim the 1997 NCAA Division III championship and then Eastern Connecticut State took home the 1998 championship after defeating Montclair State 16-1 in the title game.
During the 1990's, the Huskies had the 13th best record in all of NCAA Division III, winning 305 games, 119 defeats and one tie for a .719 winning percentage. The Warriors placed 19th by winning 299 games with 124 defeats and two ties for a .706 winning percentage.
The national success the two programs achieved during the first two years of baseball under the Little East Conference umbrella helped put the LEC on the map as a nationally recognized baseball conference with the continued success of the LEC members like Southern Maine and Eastern Connecticut State as well as the emergence of programs such as UMass Boston. The Beacons won a pair of NCAA Regional Tournament games last season after winning its first regular season title.
The historic competitive success the LEC has achieved throughout the 30 years, beginning as a basketball only conference in 1986 and expanding into today's 19-Championship Sport Conference, will continue to make academic and athletic strides as the LEC continuesto be the premier Division III conference of the New England region.
The Little East Conference was formed in 1986 when six public institutions gathered to create a single sport athletic conference and has expanded into what is now New England's premier athletic conference for public institutions in NCAA Division III. The LEC features 19 Championship Sports and sponsors quality competition in every season for our student athletes while following the Division III mission of passion, responsibility, sportsmanship and citizenship.