The Commonwealth Coast Conference will add football as a sport in 2017, giving a boost to the University of New England’s fledgling program.

The announcement gives UNE six games for its inaugural varsity football season in 2018, with more to be added.

“It’s a really a great thing for the conference and even greater thing for the University of New England,” said UNE Athletic Director Jack McDonald. “To add a sport, you need to add a schedule. It was a concern of mine. Now I think we’re in great shape.”

The Nor’easters will play a sub-varsity schedule in 2017. Their first varsity game will be against the U.S. Coast Guard Academy on Aug. 30, 2018, in New London, Connecticut.

UNE will join five other CCC schools that play football: Curry College, Endicott College, Nichols College, Salve Regina University and Western New England University. Those five schools currently play in the New England Football Conference, along with MIT, Maine Maritime Academy and the Coast Guard Academy.

“We’ve got a schedule, we’ve got good schools, we’ve got lot of good things,” said McDonald. “Now we just have to come up with few more non-conference games.”

McDonald had earlier said that he hopes to interview candidates for the football head coach position in December.

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