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Baron Athletics

Through Baron Athletics, our student-athletes at Franciscan University strive for something more than championships, titles, and trophies. They strive to win the imperishable crown—a life with Jesus Christ.

Help us grow our outreach through athletics and provide the resources for our student-athletes and coaches they need to excel on and off the field. Let’s go, Barons!

What gratifies our athletic director the most about the vignettes that follow? "They are imbued with the spirit of our patron, the Little Poor Man of Assisi, who I hope smilingly approves."


Zoey Stapleton is a former four-year tennis student-athlete who excelled on the court and became a beloved Assistant Tennis Coach upon graduation while pursuing her Master of Arts in Counseling. As a player, Zoey earned accolades in both singles and doubles, including: First Team All-AMCC honors twice; Second Team All-PAC Honors twice; and Honorable Mention All-PAC Honors. Zoey said “yes” to the challenge and commitment of being part of an NCAA team—first as an athlete and then as a coach—and considers her athletic experience decisive to her personal growth. According to Zoey, ”“My time playing and coaching for the Lady Barons brought me closer to Jesus through the witness of sacrifice, commitment, and passion exhibited by each of my teammates and fellow coaches.” 

What is Zoey doing next? She was accepted to become a postulant in the Franciscan Sisters, T.O.R. of Penance of the Sorrowful Mother and will be entering this summer. Congrats Zoey! 


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Joe Ciola, a senior guard on the men’s basketball team, ran laps around the Franciscan University track for 24 hours straight for a total of 70 miles, raising more than $2100 for Urban Mission, a local charity dedicated to serving the poor in the Steubenville Community.


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During the men’s and women’s tennis teams' spring break trip to Florida in March, one of the tournament coordinators who had witnessed the faithfulness and prayer of Franciscan University teams in prior years asked the teams to pray with him and his wife, who suffers from a debilitating medical condition. 


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A faculty member recently shared with me a portion of an essay written by a student-athlete for a class (quoted with permission):  

Coach W prioritized cultivating a culture centered on hard work and virtue. He recognized the potential pitfalls of a team solely focused on [athletic] prowess . . . Coach W, however, emphasized that the diligence and work ethic we demonstrated in practice would transcend the [athletic arena], impacting our professional, personal, and spiritual lives. His approach instilled in us the belief that disciplined and hard-working players would carry those qualities into all facets of life.

15 student-athletes participated in mission trips during Spring Break in March. Locations visited on mission included the Dominican Republic, Belize, Bronx, and Arizona. Listening to these students share their experiences on mission was powerful, inspiring, and edifying. No doubt, lives were transformed.

Areas to Give Include:

Baron Athletic Fund

Athlete Center for Excellence

Club Sports


Men's Basketball

Women's Basketball

Cross Country

Women's Golf

Men's Lacrosse

Women's Lacrosse


Men's Soccer

Women's Soccer


Swimming and Diving

Men's Tennis

Women's Tennis

Track and Field


Late Night at the Cafe
The group or team with the most donors between 7pm and 9pm will get an additional $1000, the second most will get an additional $500, and the third most will get an additional $250. (Minimum gift of $20)
Rank Prize Fund Designation Donors
1 $1,000 Men's Basketball 18
2 $500 St. Michael's Scholarship 8
3 $250 Christ the Teacher Academic Building 7
4 Serra Vocations Fund 7
5 Women's Basketball 6
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