UMass Lowell River Hawks
UniversityUniversity of Massachusetts Lowell
ConferenceAmerica East (primary)
Hockey East
NCAADivision I
Athletic directorPeter Casey
LocationLowell, Massachusetts
Varsity teams16
Basketball arenaTsongas Center at UMass Lowell/Costello Athletic Center
Baseball stadiumEdward A. LeLacheur Park
Soccer stadiumCushing Field Complex
MascotRowdy the River Hawk
NicknameRiver Hawks
Fight song"River Hawk Pride"
ColorsBlue, white, and red[1]

The UMass Lowell River Hawks are the NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics teams representing the University of Massachusetts Lowell in Lowell, Massachusetts, United States. Members of the America East Conference[2] for all sports (except the men's ice hockey team, which competes in Hockey East). UMass Lowell sponsors teams in seven men's and seven women's NCAA sanctioned sports.[3] Prior to transitioning to Division I in 2013, the River Hawks competed in the Northeast-10 Conference in Division II.

History of the nickname

In 1948, Lowell Textile Institute began using "Terry Tex" as the mascot for the college.[4] The bull terrier was chosen as it represented all things textile and the school's athletic programs adopted the 'Terriers' moniker. In 1971 the college, which had become Lowell Technological Institute some years earlier decided that a new nickname was needed. The athletic department changed the moniker from 'Terriers' to 'Chiefs' to represent strength, honor and leadership. They chose the name in part because they believed that it avoided the derogatory connotations that were associated with other nicknames like 'Indians' or 'Redskins'.

When Lowell Tech merged with Lowell State College to form the 'University of Lowell' in 1975, the new athletic teams continued with the 'Chiefs' nickname. Once Lowell joined the University of Massachusetts system in 1991, the school began to receive pressure to move away from the Chiefs name which, invariably, had become associated with derogatory native imagery. In 1993 the school formed a committee of students, faculty and staff to decide the fate of both the name and logo. By a vote of 14-1, the committee recommended retiring the 'Chiefs' name and Chancellor William Hogan accepted the decision in January 1994.[4]

Over 150 submissions were made for the new name. The most popular came from Chad Dooley in a letter to Bruce Crowder, the coach of the ice hockey team. Dooley suggested the hawk as a moniker for the programs. In an effort to tie the Merrimack River to the school the committee altered the name slightly to 'River Hawks'. The three finalists for the new name were 'River Hawks', 'Raging Rapids' and 'Lightning' with River Hawks being selected by popular vote. The first logo for the new nickname was produced in May 1994 and, while both the name and mascot have gone stylistic changes in the years since, the school has continued with the River Hawks name since.


Men's sports Women's sports
Baseball Basketball
Basketball Cross country
Cross country Field hockey
Ice hockey Lacrosse
Lacrosse Soccer
Soccer Softball
Track and field Track and field
† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor.
America East Conference logo in UMass Lowell's colors

The University of Massachusetts Lowell participates in 16 sports at the Division I level. On July 1, 2013, 14 of UMass Lowell's Division II teams moved up to Division I, joining the America East Conference. The River Hawks formerly competed in the Northeast-10 Conference at the Division II level. Past champions include the 1988 men's basketball team, the 1991 men's cross country team, the ice hockey team (three times) and the field hockey team twice (2005, 2010). The 2010 field hockey team finished its season with a perfect 24-0 record. The university added men's and women's lacrosse for the 2014-2015 academic year.[5]

The university's men's hockey team plays in the Hockey East Association and plays its home games at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell. In 2013, the men's hockey team won the Hockey East regular-season and tournament championships and advanced to the NCAA Division I Championship "Frozen Four," all for the first time in the university's history.[6] The men's hockey team repeated as Hockey East champions in 2014 while advancing to the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship for the third straight year and sixth time overall. Goalie Connor Hellebuyck is the only Hockey East player to receive the league tournament's Most Valuable Player Award in two consecutive years, earning the honor in 2013 and 2014.[6]

The nickname "River Hawks" came about during the school's transition from the University of Lowell to UMass Lowell and was inspired by the campus's location along the Merrimack River. The University of Lowell's nickname was the Chiefs, which was abandoned in favor of the current name. A campus-wide poll was conducted for student input and final candidates included the Ospreys and the Raging Rapids, according to the Connector student newspaper.

Men's Hockey at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell

Discontinued sports


ULowell started playing division III collegiate football in 1980. Under coach Dennis Scannell UMass Lowell enjoyed a 35-4 run from 1988–91, making the 1991 NCAA Division III Football Championship playoffs, losing to Union in the first round. UMass Lowell made the move to division II as a member of the Northeast-10 Conference in 2000. Due to budget cuts and lack of competitiveness on the field, the administration cut the sport in 2003.[7]


Sport Facility Capacity
Baseball Edward A. LeLacheur Park 4,797
Basketball Costello Athletic Center
Tsongas Center
Field hockey Cushing Field Complex
Ice hockey Tsongas Center 6,496
Lacrosse Cushing Field Complex
Soccer Cushing Field Complex
Softball River View Field
Track & field Cushing Field Complex

Notable athletes

Notable staff

Athletic Directors

National championships

The University of Massachusetts Lowell has won seven team NCAA Championships.[10][non-primary source needed]


Sport Association Division Year Opponent/Runner-up Score
Men's Basketball (1) NCAA Division II 1988 Alaska Anchorage 75–72
Men's Cross Country (1) NCAA Division II 1991 Nebraska–Kearney 48–96 (-48)
Field Hockey (2) NCAA Division II 2005 Bloomsburg 2–1 (2OT)
2010 Shippensburg 1–0
Men's Ice Hockey (3) NCAA Division II 1979 Mankato State 6–4
1981 Plattsburgh State 5–4
1982 Plattsburgh State 5–1


  1. ^ "UMass Lowell Athletics Identity Standards". August 8, 2021. Retrieved November 10, 2022.
  2. ^ "America East Conference". America East Conference. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  3. ^ "UMass Lowell Athletics". Retrieved 2013-07-27.
  4. ^ a b "How UMass Lowell Got Rowdy". UMass Lowell. Retrieved August 15, 2023.
  5. ^ Whitmer, Michael (February 13, 2013). "UMass-Lowell joining America East". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  6. ^ a b "2015 Division I Men's Ice Hockey Tournament". NCAA. Retrieved 2015-09-23.
  7. ^ "UMass Lowell's gridiron memories". Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  8. ^ "UMass Lowell AD Skinner will retire". Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  9. ^ "Casey the new boss of UMass Lowell athletics". Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  10. ^ "University Quick Facts". UMass Lowell.