About Susquehanna University Athletics
Susquehanna offers 23 varsity sports programs, 12 women's and 11 men's, all of which compete in Division III of the NCAA. Men's and women's golf compete in the Empire 8 Athletic and Centennial Conferences, respectively, while every other team--with the exception of football--is a member of the Landmark Conference. Football is also a member of the Centennial.
These conferences afford the SU Athletics program the opportunity to compete with other well-known institutions while preserving the university's focus on institutional excellence, where athletics act as "a critical component of the undergraduate experience."
SU Athletics helps the university attain its overall educational mission. Through instruction, counseling, physical conditioning and competition, the programs provide students with social and physical skills that lead to positive personal development. Gender equity, participation and competitive opportunity are primary goals. Central to the purpose of the programs are the development of a sense of fair play, sportsmanship, personal wellness and stimulation to academic inquiry and achievement.
The "River Hawks"
Susquehanna's newest tradition, beginning in fall 2016, is the River Hawk, the university’s new nickname. Also known as the osprey, it shares many characteristics with our students—
And the river hawk always returns to Susquehanna. A migratory bird that travels great distances, the river hawk always finds its way back to these waters. And Susquehanna students know that no matter how far they go, this incredible place will always be their alma mater.
Prior to 2016-17, Susquehanna was known as the "Crusaders, a nickname adopted in the 1920s when a new athletics director, Luther Grossman, inaugurated a new athletics policy at the university.
In the years following World War I, Susquehanna became briefly embroiled in "big-time" intercollegiate football, which in those days involved importing players who, strictly speaking, were neither students nor amateurs.
Grossman, however, was determined that SU field football teams that were truly representative of the student body and, furthermore, that an extensive intramurals program be developed to offer all SU students some opportunity to engage in athletic competition.
Grossman's campaign was termed a "Crusade," hence the nickname "Crusaders." The motto was "Sports for all and sports for sports' sake."
The Stagg Story
The Division III football championship game is named the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl after former Susquehanna coach Amos Alonzo Stagg Sr.
Stagg, the "Grand Old Man of Football," shared the SU head coach position with his son, Amos Jr., from 1947 to 1952.
During their six years as co-head football coaches for the Crusaders, the Staggs guided the program to a 21-19-3 record, although official NCAA records do not credit the elder Stagg with those 21 wins. If they were included, Stagg would be third on the NCAA's list of career coaching victories at the highest level with 335.
Both Staggs were inducted into the SU Sports Hall of Fame in 1968. The university's football field formally took on the name of Amos Alonzo Stagg Field on September 26, 1981.
Susquehanna dedicated busts of the coaching duo next to Stagg Field prior to its 2006 home opener.
Susquehanna football has incorporated two pieces of its storied history into annual "trophy" games against rivals Lycoming College and Juniata College.
Since 1993, SU has battled Lycoming for the "Stagg Hat Trophy," which is an actual fedora worn by Amos Sr. while he coached at Susquehanna. The hat was given by the elder Stagg to 1954 SU graduate and former assistant coach Rich Young, who donated it to the Sunbury (Pa.) Kiwanis Club to be bronzed and made into a trophy.
From 1960 to 1978, the Kiwanis Charities Festival was the Crusaders' first home game, and the winner took possession of the Stagg Hat Trophy for one year. After the Kiwanis game was discontinued, the "Old Hat" was returned to the trophy case at Susquehanna, where it remained until the Crusaders and Warriors began playing for it on an annual basis in 1993.
SU and Juniata have battled for the "Goal Post Trophy" since 1953. The trophy is a piece of goal post taken from SU's University Field by Juniata fans following their team's 12-7 upset of the Crusaders on Nov. 1, 1952.
Currently, Susquehanna holds a 26-23-1 edge in Goal Post Trophy games.
Susquehanna men's and women's soccer also compete for rivalry trophies each year with Lycoming. The men play for possession of "the Boot," a bronzed and mounted soccer-shoe trophy, while the women play for the "River Derby" Cup.
Susquehanna and Lycoming's softball teams also compete in an annual breast-cancer awareness game.