About the CACC
The Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference will foster outstanding academic achievement and meaningful engagement within the community while maintaining a highly-competitive athletics atmosphere. The conference will continue to place a primary emphasis on the welfare of student-athletes, their preparation to thrive in their lives beyond the collegiate experience and the development of leadership skills through ongoing assessment. The CACC strives to be the best Division II athletic conference nationally.
The Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference is an NCAA Division II Conference composed of 14 institutions in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The member institutions are Bloomfield College, Caldwell University, Chestnut Hill College, Concordia (N.Y.) College, Dominican (N.Y.) College, Felician University, Georgian Court University, Goldey-Beacom College, Holy Family University, Nyack College, Post University, University of the Sciences, Thomas Jefferson University and Wilmington University.
The CACC was founded in 1961. A meeting of eight schools was arranged and hosted by Norm Wilhelmi, Athletic Director at The King's (N.Y.) College. The meeting resulted in the forming a new conference, the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference. The conference included eight original members in the fall of 1961. They were Bloomfield College, Dowling College, The King's College, Marist College, Monmouth College, Nyack College, C.W. Post College and Southampton College.
After years of transition and membership changes, NAIA members Bloomfield College, Caldwell College, Dominican College, Georgian Court College, Nyack College, Teikyo-Post University and St. Thomas Aquinas College made application to the NCAA Division II. The seven schools applied for membership in the fall of 1998. In 2002 the CACC qualified for NCAA Division II Provisional Conference Status and it achieved Active Status in July of 2004. Six schools: Bloomfield College, Caldwell College, Dominican College, Felician College, Georgian Court College and Post University, became full Division II members in 2002-03. Holy Family College, Goldey-Beacom College, Nyack College and University of the Sciences in Philadelphia became active DII members in 2003-04, followed by Wilmington College in 2004-05.
During the span from 1999-2009, the conference underwent numerous changes in addition to upgrading to Division II. In 1999, St. Thomas Aquinas left the conference and five new members joined. Felician College, Goldey-Beacom College, Holy Family College, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and Wilmington College, all NAIA schools, immediately applied for Division II status upon becoming members. In 2000, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) boosted the membership to 12 schools and that number grew to 13 in 2005 as Philadelphia University, now Thomas Jefferson University, started active membership. NJIT moved on to Division I status after the 2005-06 season. The addition of Chestnut Hill College in 2007 and Concordia College in 2009 brought the CACC to 14 members. Only four conferences in Division II have more members.
The CACC enjoyed early success in the ranks of Division II and Caldwell led the way in 2004. The Cougar softball team won the NCAA Northeast Region Championship and advanced to the Women's College World Series in Alamonte Springs, Fla., where it won a game before being eliminated. The Cougar baseball team was selected to the 2004 NCAA Northeast Region Tournament and won its first game before being eliminated.
The 2004-05 season saw the Bloomfield men's basketball team pick up the league's first-ever NCAA Tournament win in basketball with a 79-77 victory over Saint Anselm. In 2010-11, Bloomfield became the first CACC men's basketball team to advance to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight by defeating Bentley University in the East Region Championship. The Holy Family women notched the CACC's first victory in women's basketball in 2005-06 with a win over Pace University. In 2010 and 2012, Holy Family fell in the women's basketball regional final.
The Goldey-Beacom men's golf team won the 2006 Northeast Super Regional Tournament and became the first CACC team to advance to the NCAA Men's Golf National Championships. In 2012, Wilmington won the Super Regional and advanced, along with Post University, to the national championship. Concordia College men's tennis reached back-to-back NCAA Final Fours in 2010 and 2011.
The CACC celebrated the 10th anniversary as an active NCAA Division II conference in 2014-15, and the league enjoyed an exciting ride highlighted by three schools winning NCAA regional championships including Wilmington in baseball and men's golf, and Concordia in men's tennis. Holy Family women's basketball knocked off top-seeded Adelphi, 84-79, in the first round of the NCAA Division II Tournament East Regional, thus becoming the first No. 8 seed in East Region history (men or women) to defeat the No. 1 seed in the opening round. In addition, University of the Sciences men's basketball standout Garret Kerr earned a pair of national player-of-the-year awards, marking the second-consecutive year he won the award from one of the major media outlets covering Division II basketball.
The CACC currently offers 16 championship sports, including men's and women's soccer, women's volleyball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's basketball, baseball, softball, men's golf, men's and women's lacrosse, and men's and women's track & field. Currently, nine of the CACC's season-ending tournaments lead to automatic NCAA qualifications including women's soccer, volleyball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's basketball, softball, baseball and men's golf.
With its ascent to active Division II status, the conference made major improvements by introducing a new website and logo. Both were unveiled in July of 2004. The website, www.caccathletics.org, contains updated stats, schedules, results, photos and news about all 14 member schools. The site underwent a complete redesign in the summer of 2009 and again in 2012. The conference's website underwent another redesign in April 2015 and debuted just prior to the start of the spring championship season.
The CACC adopted its current logo from a design submitted by Royal Rooster Design of Iowa. In 2009, the CACC commissioned separate logos for each conference sport and in 2010 added championship tournament logos for all sports. The championship logos were redesigned in 2016. The conference has also introduced logos for the Restaino Cuo and The Top XV Award. A 50th Anniversary Logo was created for the 2011-2012 academic year. The logos are trademarked through an agreement with Strategic Marketing Alliance (SMA) to protect and market the CACC marks.
The conference office staff has also grown. Bob Oliver became the CACC's first full-time Commissioner in January, 2004. He was succeeded by current Commissioner Daniel Mara on July 1, 2006. The position of Assistant Commissioner/Strategic Communications was created in July 2005 and the Associate Commissioner post was added, with the help of an NCAA Strategic Alliance Marching Grant in 2007. A part-time position for Internal Operations was added in June 2012. The CACC Office has been located in New Haven, Conn., since 2004.
Off the court and field, the CACC and its student-athletes take pride in the balance between academics and athletics. The CACC finished fourth nationally among Division II Conferences for the graduation rate of its student-athletes, according to the latest NCAA report. Furthermore, the conference established its inaugural All-Academic team in the fall of 2004 and the number of names on the list continues to grow each year. The CACC honored 417 scholar-athletes in 2014-2015, including record numbers of 218 during the fall and 44 during the winter.
Norm Wilhelmi (1926-2012) Founder of the CACC.
Norm Wilhelmi, 86, passed away on Wednesday, October 24, 2012. He was born on April 3, 1926 in Cicero, Illinois to Elmer and Helen Sladek Wilhelmi.
He was a long-time resident of Montreat and member of Montreat Presbyterian Church, EPC. During WWII, he served in the U.S. Navy and saw action in the South Pacific including Iwo Jima. Following the war, he graduated from Taylor University in Upland, where he met his beloved wife of over 60 years, Eunice Berg Wilhelmi.
He was affectionally known as "Coach" and served his first teaching and coaching position at Berne-French High School in Berne. He then served many years as director of athletics, coach and teacher at The King's College in Briarcliff Manor, New York and later at Montreat-Anderson College in Montreat, North Carolina. Along with his teaching and coaching duties, he led the way in the founding of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC), the East Coast Christian College All-Sports Tournament, the National Christian College Physical Education Association (NCCPEA), the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) and the Annual Christian College Baseball Tournament out of which developed a baseball clinic ministry teaching baseball skills and introducing Jesus to German youth.
For many years, he hosted a nationwide radio broadcast that used sports stories to tell listeners about Christian colleges and mission sports programs. He authored one book and several magazine articles. He has been inducted into the athletic halls of fame for Taylor University, the National Christian College Athletic Association and Montreat College. He served as mentor and life encourager for many friends all over the world.
He was survived by his wife of Charlotte, North Carolina; two sons; two daughters; and seven grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a son-in-law; and a grandson.