athletics

A Landmark Year

A new conference, new leadership, significant upgrades in facilities and history-making athletes highlighted a landmark year for Wilkes University athletics.
After a 75-year membership with the NCAA District III Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC), Wilkes announced in 2023 that it would be moving to the Landmark Conference. The strategic move to Landmark, an intercollegiate athletic conference affiliated with the NCAA’s Division III, has positioned Wilkes to compete with an echelon of institutions that are similar in size, scope and philosophy, offering research-intensive programs from bachelor’s through doctoral levels. For the 2023-24 academic year, 19 of the 23 varsity sports joined Landmark, with men’s and women’s ice hockey, wrestling and men’s volleyball continuing to compete independently.

“Joining Landmark presents us with an excellent opportunity to enhance the Wilkes brand in these geographic areas while continuing to attract the highest caliber students to our university,” said President Greg Cant. “Above all else, the move will provide our student-athletes with exceptional academic and athletic experiences.”

During the summer of 2023, both the first Landmark season and the tenure of Wilkes University’s new athletic director (AD), Scott Musa, began. Musa, who succeeded longtime AD Addie Malatesta, sees the change to Landmark as a positive move. “One of the biggest advantages is that we’re now with like-minded academically aspirational institutions,” he said. The Landmark Conference, founded in 2005, currently includes 12 private institutions: Catholic University in Washington, D.C.; Drew University in New Jersey; Goucher College in Maryland; and Elizabethtown College, Juniata College, Lycoming College, Moravian University, University of Scranton, Susquehanna University and Wilkes University in Pennsylvania. There are two affiliate institutions in Pennsylvania: Keystone College (football only) and Marywood University (women’s golf). “We play great schools as far as Washington, D.C., and compete locally with the University of Scranton, while still being able to maintain our historical relationship with King’s College,” noted Musa. “It’s a perfect fit.”

Scott Musa headshot
“We play great schools as far as Washington, D.C., and compete locally with the University of Scranton, while still being able to maintain our historical relationship with King’s College. It’s a perfect fit.”

– Scott Musa, athletic director
In the fall, student-athletes gathered in front of the “At Wilkes, You Will” newly-branded Martz buses and represented their teams.

Significant Upgrades and a New Look!

  • A new turf field at Schmidt Stadium
  • A beautiful new floor in the Henry Gymnasium (see below)
  • Be on the lookout for beautiful, bright “At Wilkes, You Will” branded vehicles on the road:
    – Shuttles that bring students to the field
    – Martz buses that bring athletes to games
Looking back over his first year at the helm, Musa shared some meaningful highlights. “We had our first success of the fall season with field hockey qualifying for the conference tournament,” he said. “And the football team was runner-up in the conference standings, hosting and winning the Chesapeake Bowl game at Schmidt Stadium,” he said. “The men’s basketball team had a phenomenal year, finishing fourth in the league and hosting and winning the playoff game, and three scholar-athletes were named to All-American status (see sidebar). So it’s really been an incredible year.”

On a personal note, Musa said he couldn’t be more pleased about joining Wilkes. “Oh, it’s been tremendous. The whole community has welcomed my family with open arms and it’s really been wonderful.”