In 2015-16, Northern Virginia Community College celebrated its 50th Anniversay as an institution of higher eduction. Intercollegiate athletics have been a long standing tradition of pride for NOVA since the College was founded.
But, what of the past? Well, athletics have been at NOVA from the very beginning in the form of a men’s basketball team formed that first year in 1965 at Northern Virginia Technical College. Known as the “Golden Eagles,” they went 13-2 and won the championship of their league under the direction of coach Russ Cordaro.
The modern day era of NOVA Athletics was established in 2011, when the College joined the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). NOVA sponsors three men’s varsity sports – basketball, lacrosse and soccer – and four women’s sports – basketball, volleyball, cross country and softball, along with one club sport – ice hockey.
Men's and women's basketball, women's volleyball, men's soccer, and men's lacrosse were NOVA's first teams as a member of the NJCAA. Women's cross country was added in 2013 and softball was started in 2015.
The women’s cross country team won the 2014 NJCAA Region 20 Division I championship and won the 2015 NJCAA Region 20 Division I championship, along with 2016 and 2017 championships.
The women’s volleyball team was the NJCAA Region 20 Division II champions and went to the national finals in Phoenix, Ariz. They finished the season with a 23-10 record. In 2015, volleyball advanced to the NJCAA Region 20 Tournament semifinals. In 2017, the Nighthawks won the NJCAA Region 20 Division II regular season title and were the runners up in the region tournament.
The year of the Nighthawk! During the 2014-15 academic year, NOVA had a college-wide survey to start the process of selecting a "new" mascot. Hundreds of names were offered and ultimately the name "Nighthawk" was selected by the campus community. The "Golden Eagle" name was never used in the current era of NOVA Athletics.
Once the Nighthawk name was selected in Spring 2015, students from the Alexandria Campus Communications Design program designed several mascot logos. Five designs were selected to be placed on a ballot and NOVA students, faculty and staff had the opportunity to vote for their favorite design. Jennifer Bradley’s design won.