SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (November 14, 2016) – Two days after completing its second consecutive undefeated regular season, Western New England University has earned its first national ranking of 2016, debuting at No. 23 in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division III Coaches' Poll.
Western New England (10-0, 7-0 NEFC), which defeated Coast Guard 36-29 in its regular season finale on Saturday, received 111 points to crack the national poll for the first time this fall. The Golden Bears were receiving the most votes among unranked teams in the AFCA Poll last week, and they had appeared in the 'Others Receiving Votes' section since the start of the season.
Western New England climbed as high as No. 19 in last season's AFCA Poll, and the Golden Bears finished the 2015 campaign ranked No. 22 nationally.
The eighth and final edition of the Grinold Chapter Division III New England Football Poll was also released today, with Western New England holding the No. 1 ranking for the eighth consecutive week. The Golden Bears also completed a wire-to-wire run atop the New England DIII Poll last fall.
Western New England, which earned the NEFC's automatic bid to the 2016 NCAA DIII Tournament, will host Husson University in a first round matchup on Saturday, November 19 at noon.