NJIT Highlanders

NJIT Highlanders
NJIT Highlanders
University New Jersey Institute of Technology
Conference(s) Great West Conference, Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association, Atlantic Soccer Conference
NCAA Division I
Athletics director Lenny Kaplan
Location Newark, NJ
Varsity teams 16
Basketball arena Estelle and Zoom Fleisher Athletic Center
Baseball stadium Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium
Soccer stadium J. Malcolm Simon Stadium
Other arenas Prudential Center
Mascot Highlander (with Shield and Sword)
Nickname Highlanders
Fight song None
Colors Red and White


Homepage NJIT Highlanders

New Jersey Tech Highlanders, more commonly recognized as the NJIT Highlanders, refers to the varsity sport members of the Division I NCAA-affiliated sports teams of New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). The sports offerings at NJIT have expanded to nine Men’s programs, seven Women’s programs, two Club teams and a variety of Intramural teams.


Behind the Highlander name

NJIT is located in an area known as University Heights, formerly known as the Newark Highlands. While classified under the former location, NJIT’s mailing address used to be High Street, until it was renamed in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This reference to NJIT’s past is what brought about the mascot The Highlander.

In the academic year of 2006-07, NJIT athletics, in keeping with its move to NCAA Division I, created a new graphic identity. This includes a new Highlanders logo, developed by CN Foundry for NJIT. The logo depicts the traditional Highlander, whose ferocity and bravery against all odds are the stuff of legend.

Move to Division I

NJIT athletics moved to the top level of college athletics-NCAA Division I, in 2006.

Prior to the entire reclassification of the athletics program, all programs competed in the Division II level. In the process of reclassification, both men’s and women’s soccer programs are taking the big leap into Division I faster than the other programs. They have a unique opportunity that allows lower division schools to elevate one sport in each gender to Division I in a process that takes two years to complete. NJIT men’s soccer became a full member of NCAA Division I at the start of the 2005 season, when the Highlanders arrived at championship eligibility. The men’s journey to the top level began in 2003. NJIT women’s soccer began a similar two-year process in 2005, with full Division I status and championship eligibility arriving with the 2007 season.

Advancing the entire program however takes four years to complete and the process includes application, a detailed strategic plan and in-depth annual review of the institution’s progress in moving toward its goal of complying with NCAA Division I rules and building a strong, broad-based athletics program.

Along the way, scholarship and operating budgets have been enhanced, with expanded coaching staffs, increased scholarship dollars and upgraded facilities for competition and practice.

NJIT athletics has officially gained across-the-board active membership in NCAA Division I, beginning September 1, 2009[1].


Besides the on-campus Estelle & Zoom Fleisher Athletic Center, the NJIT basketball teams also play at the Prudential Center in downtown Newark.
The NJIT Cross-Country Teams practice at the nearby Branch Brook Park and Van Cortlandt Park in NYC.

The Estelle and Zoom Fleisher Athletic Center, the home gymnasium for the NJIT Highlanders, underwent renovations in the summer of 2006 which included installation of a new floor and baskets, new lighting, new sound system and new scoreboards, along with entirely new seating for approximately 1,500 spectators after the first phase of renovation.

The home field for the Highlanders’ soccer program is Lubetkin Field and is a first-class venue for college soccer. Outfitted with SprinTurf artificial grass in the summer of 2004, Lubetkin Field also includes lighting for night contests, bleacher seating for more than 1,000 spectators, a press box and scoreboard. NJIT just recently hosted a Youth International Soccer Invitational on Lubetkin Field in which Mexico took the championship.

A six-lane swimming pool is home to NJIT’s men’s and women’s swimming teams, while the two varsity tennis squads utilize the four lighted outdoor hardcourt tennis courts behind the building.

A newly renovated on-campus 6-lane bowling alley is available at the student center for recreational and club-level bowling[2].

A new indoor tennis facility (completed in 2011) The Naimoli Family Athletic and Recreational Facility[3] houses 4 indoor tennis courts.

While baseball and basketball are important aspects to NJIT’s athletic program, their home matches are mainly played off campus at local sports hotspots. In a joint press conference in December 2005, former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre was a featured speaker as NJIT and the professional Newark Bears announced a 10-year partnership that secured the downtown stadium as the site of all Highlanders’ baseball home games.

NJIT basketball will also be a tenant of a major sport’s arena, in the new downtown Prudential Center, the state-of-the-art home of the National Hockey League New Jersey Devils. The Highlanders hosted six games on four dates in 2007-08 at The Rock and NJIT plans to increase its presence in 2008-09. An expansion/extension to the existing athletic facilities has already been planned[4].

Great West Conference / Atlantic Soccer Conference / Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA)

Most of the Highlanders’ programs competed Independently until 2009, when the Highlanders became a part of the newly expanded Great West Conference. In the summer of 2008 the Highlanders were one of six athletic programs to announce they had joined the expansion of the Great West Conference to form a Division I all-sports league that will begin full conference scheduling and championships in 2009-10.

The Great West Conference was formerly a football-only league but has expanded into an all-sports league with the addition of NJIT, University of Texas–Pan American, Utah Valley, Houston Baptist University, University of North Dakota and University of South Dakota. Chicago State University joined the conference in October 2008 making the total full-sports members to 7[5].

The Highlander programs that will participate in the Great West are men’s and women’s basketball; baseball; women’s volleyball; women’s tennis; men’s and women’s cross country; men’s and women’s indoor track and field; and men’s and women’s outdoor track and field. Although the newly expanded conference is not eligible for automatic Division I championship postseason qualification, it does offer NJIT’s athletics some benefits. The benefits offered are conference championship competition, stable scheduling opportunities in all conference sports and individual recognition for student-athletes through weekly and season all-conference recognition.

Currently, the Great West Conference men's basketball tournament champion has an automatic bid to CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT)[6].

NJIT's Men's soccer team competes in the Atlantic Soccer Conference while NJIT's Men's volleyball team competes in Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA). The Women's soccer team used to compete in the United Soccer Conference but stopped in 2009-2010 season when Great West Conference officially started as an all-sports conference.

Varsity sport programs

The NJIT Men's Baseball team plays at the Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium in downtown Newark.

Men’s programs

Women’s programs

  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Fencing
  • Soccer
  • Swimming (eliminated in 2010[7])
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field
  • Volleyball

See also List of Division I schools that have never sponsored football

Club and intramural teams

NJIT, which offers a growing list of club sports, also has a robust intramural program, which makes use of the numerous athletic facilities.

Club sport teams

NJIT plays club-level ice hockey at the Prudential Center in the Great Northeast Collegiate Hockey Conference.

Intramural sport teams

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cricket
  • Fencing
  • Judo
  • Soccer
  • Volleyball


NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Recognitions for futility
NJIT‘s Men’s basketball program set the record of the most winless team in D-I history (see 2007–08 NJIT Highlanders men's basketball team) in the 2007-2008 season with a losing streak of 51 games, breaking Sacramento State University’s old D-I record. This acknowledgment has given NJIT’s athletic program national recognition for futility. The unofficial NCAA record was set during its second NCAA Division 1 transitional season. It came despite a promising debut 5-24 Division 1 transitional season (2006-2007) whereby the rookie team won its first two matches (away and home)[8]. With a new head coach (Jim Engles), an entire new team of coaching staffs and additional new recruits, the NJIT Men’s basketball team ended a 51-game losing streak on January 21, 2009 with a 61-51 win over the Bryant University Bulldogs ending the 2008-2009 season with a 1-30 record. The Highlanders improved the following season (2009–2010) and ended with a 10-21 record[9] during its first official NCAA Division 1 season.

It currently holds 3 NCAA Division I Men's basketball reclassifying records[10]: Defeats in a winless Season (29 games), Consecutive Defeats in a Season (29 games) and Consecutive Defeats (51 games).

NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Recognitions for best performances
Despite performing way below Division I standard during its reclassifying seasons from Division II to Division I, the Highlanders till this day still hold several Division III Men's Basketball records more than a decade after elevation from Division III. These records[11] include:

  • All-time best 3-pt field-goal percentage in one season (67% by Reggie James in 1989 ).
  • All-time 2nd best 3-pt field-goal percentage in one season (63.1% by Chris Miles in 1987).
  • All-time 3rd best 3-pt field-goal percentage in one season (61.3% by Chris Miles in 1989).
  • All-time highest number of block-shots in one season (198 by Tory Black in 1997).
  • All-time highest number of block-shots per game in one season (7.62 by Tory Black in 1997).
  • All-time highest 3-pt field-goal percentage (min 100 made) by a team in one season (62% on 124 of 200 shootings in 1989).

As of the end of 2009-2010 season, the NJIT Men's Basketball team records stood as follows:

  • Division I basketball : 13/104 (12.5% winning percentage)
  • Division I, II & III composite records since 1924 : 810/1544 (52.46% winning percentage)

The NJIT Men's Basketball team had a good rebounding year in the 2010-2011 season breaking-even with a 15-15 (D1: 11/26) record to finish second (D1: 9-3) in the Great West Conference Regular Season. The records stood as follows at the end of the 2010-2011 season:

  • Division I basketball : 24/130 (18.46% winning percentage)
  • Division I, II & III composite records since 1924 : 825/1574 (52.41% winning percentage)

Noteworthy accomplishments since turning NCAA (all-sports) Division 1 (September 2009)

Notable Highlanders

  • Raymond E. Blum (speed skating, class of 1950) member of the United States Olympic Team participating in the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland[17].
  • Werner R. Zorn (men's soccer, 1958-61) First NCAA Division III All-American from NJIT[18].
  • Hernan (Chico) Borja (men's soccer, 1977-1980), NCAA Division I First Team All American[19].
  • Ray Pauluis (men's soccer, 1980-83) NCAA Division III First Team All American[20].
  • Wycliffe Gordon (men's volleyball,1993-1996), NCAA Division I Second Team All-American[21].
  • Demond Cowins (men's basketball, 2000-2004), first Highlander basketball player (NCAA Division II) to sign a professional basketball contract[22].
  • Matt Melody (men's baseball, 2006-2009), first Highlander professional baseball player (NCAA Division I)[23].

University facts

Location: University Heights, Newark, NJ, 07102
Founded: 1881
Enrollment: 5,380 (undergraduate)
Nickname/colors: Highlanders/red and white (blue accent)
Affiliations: NCAA Division I
Main Athletic Conference: Great West Conference
Other Athletic Conferences: Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association, Atlantic Soccer Conference & Great Northeast Collegiate Hockey Conference
University President: Dr. Robert Altenkirch
NJIT athletics website: http://www.njit.edu


  1. ^ http://www.njithighlanders.com/news/2009/7/22/GEN_0722095715.aspx 'NJIT: NJIT Officially Gains Active NCAA Division I Membership'
  2. ^ http://www.njit.edu/studentlife/daytodaylife.php 'NJIT: Day-to-day life on NJIT's campus'
  3. ^ http://www.njit.edu/news/2011/2011-057.php 'NJIT : The Naimoli Family Athletic and Recreational Facility Dedication Next Week'
  4. ^ http://gateway.njit.edu/docs/2008/2008-gateway.executivesummary2008.pdf 'NJIT Master Plan Executive Summary'
  5. ^ http://www.greatwestconference.org/about-gwfc/gwfc-about-gwfc.html 'Great West Conference: About Great West Conference'
  6. ^ http://www.greatwestconference.org/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/092909aab.html 'Great West Conference: Great West Granted Automatic Bid Into CIT Field'
  7. ^ http://www.njithighlanders.com/news/2010/5/7/MSWIM_0507104610.aspx?path=mswim 'NJIT Suspends Sponsorship of Intercollegiate Swimming'
  8. ^ http://njithighlanders.com/documents/2010/1/25/mbasket10cpx.pdf 'NJIT Men's Basketball Team Media Guide'
  9. ^ http://www.njithighlanders.com/schedule.aspx?path=mbball&schedule=80 'NJIT Highlanders: 2009-10 Men's Basketball Schedule'
  10. ^ http://web1.ncaa.org/web_files/stats/m_basketball_RB/2010/D1.pdf 'NCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball Records (2009 Edition)'
  11. ^ http://web1.ncaa.org/web_files/stats/m_basketball_RB/2010/D3.pdf 'NCAA Division 3 Men's Basketball Records (2009 Edition)'
  12. ^ http://www.njithighlanders.com/news/2009/12/23/WVB_1223091445.aspx 'NJIT: Sabrina Baby and NJIT Claim NCAA Division I Statistical Championships'
  13. ^ http://www.njithighlanders.com/news/2009/12/1/WVB_1201094240.aspx 'NJIT: Sabrina Baby Named to ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Team'
  14. ^ http://www.njithighlanders.com/news/2009/11/22/MXC_1122094742.aspx 'NJIT's Christian Baumbach Wins Prestigious IC4A Championship Race'
  15. ^ http://www.njithighlanders.com/news/2011/2/28/MHOCKEY_0228110935.aspx NJIT Highlanders : WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS! - Co-Captain Colin McArdle scores late in OT for the Highlanders' first-ever championship
  16. ^ http://www.njithighlanders.com/news/2011/5/1/WTEN_0501113108.aspx Women's Tennis Captures Great West Conference Title
  17. ^ http://njithighlanders.com/hof.aspx?hof=4&path=&kiosk= 'NJIT : Hall of Fame Induction Class of 1996'
  18. ^ http://njithighlanders.com/hof.aspx?hof=61&path=&kiosk= 'NJIT Hall of Fame Induction Class of 1988'
  19. ^ http://www.nscaa.com/awards-detail.php?it=SC&yr=1980 'NSCAA: All-America Awards (1980)'
  20. ^ http://www.njithighlanders.com/news/2006/6/21/062106aaa_79.aspx?path=general 'NJIT: 2006 Hall of Fame'
  21. ^ http://www.njit.edu/publications/twanext/980520/TWANMay2098.html#Gordan 'NJIT : Gordon Named Volleyball All-American'
  22. ^ http://www.caccathletics.org/sports/mbkb/2004/news/2004511cowins 'Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference: NJIT graduate signs professional basketball contract'
  23. ^ http://www.njithighlanders.com/news/2009/6/27/BB_0627092915.aspx 'NJIT : Matt Melody: NJIT Highlander to Newark Bear'

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