Sports have been an active part of Franklin and Marshall since its inception. The school's sports teams are called the Diplomats. Many of the teams compete in the Centennial Conference. Men's intercollegiate competition is in fourteen sports: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, squash, swimming, tennis, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, wrestling, and rowing. Women's intercollegiate competition is in fourteen sports: basketball, rowing, cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, squash, swimming, tennis, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, and volleyball. F&M competes in NCAA Division III for all varsity sports except wrestling, which is Division I, and men's and women's squash, which are nondivisional.
In 1866, the student-run Alpha Club sponsored the college's first baseball game.
In 1887, the first football team was organized by Seminary student Miles O. Noll. Franklin and Marshall College was defeated 9–0 by the York YMCA. Later that year, the program played a re-match and lost again, this time by score of 6–4.
Distler House, the school's first gymnasium, was constructed in 1891 and contained a bowling alley, indoor running track, and gymnastic equipment.
Sponaugle-Williamson Field was constructed in 1895 with the assistance of $1,500 from Henry S. Williamson. It was later renamed "Williamson Field." A concrete grandstand was added in 1922 at a cost of $10,000.
In 1900 the first basketball game was played. The opposing team was Millersville Normal School.
Professor Charles W. Mayser founded the F&M wrestling team in 1923, and early 1924 saw the college's first wrestling match as the Blue & White defeated Western Maryland College 24–5. The Diplomat grapplers finished their maiden season with a 4–1 record. F&M wrestling competes in the EIWA, the oldest collegiate wrestling conference in the United States.
Mayser Physical Education Center, the college's second gymnasium, was opened in 1927.
In 1992, F&M became a charter member of the Centennial Conference, an athletic conference of 11 mid-Atlantic institutions that compete in 22 sports in the NCAA's Division III. The other founding members of the conference are Bryn Mawr College, Dickinson College, Gettysburg College, Haverford College, Johns Hopkins University, Muhlenberg College, Swarthmore College, Ursinus College, Western Maryland College, (renamed McDaniel College) and Washington College.
In 1995, the Alumni Sports and Fitness Center, the school's third gymnasium opened on the site of the college's former ice rink.
In 2007, the F&M women's lacrosse team won the NCAA Division III championship with an undefeated season record of 21–0. The women's lacrosse team took back the NCAA Division III championship in 2009, for the second time in three years with a 21–1 record. It marked the third consecutive year that the women's lacrosse team played in the championship game.
The men's basketball team has reached the NCAA Division III Final Four on five occasions (1979, 1991, 1996, 2000, 2009), appearing in the national championship game in 1991. The men's basketball team has been nationally ranked on a frequent basis since the late 1970s, including No. 1 in Division III at some point during seven different seasons. Head coach Glenn Robinson is the career leader in wins in Division III. Robinson has been listed as one of the top 100 college basketball coaches of all-time.
Other successful athletic teams at F&M include men's soccer, men's and women's swimming, baseball, and squash. They all traditionally compete for conference championships and have been ranked high nationally. In 2008, the men's swimming team won the Centennial Conference championships and the women's swimming team placed second. At that championship, Thomas Anthony Grabiak Jr. of F&M set Centennial Conference championship meet records in the 100 and 200 yd breaststroke events. Men's squash consistently maintains a Top-10 Division I national ranking, having finished No. 8 in the past two seasons. In 1988, the Men's lacrosse team finished the season 13-3 and played all the way until the USILA national semifinals.
F&M also boasts several student-run clubs, most notably Men's and Women's Rugby, both of which have become serious contenders for regional, and national championships each season and which compete in the Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union. Ultimate Frisbee is also a popular club sport on campus, fielding both a men's and a women's team. In 2009, the college water polo team was revived and currently competes in the American Water Polo League and the Collegiate Water Polo League.
- ↑ DeLassus, David. "Coaching Records Game-by-Game (M.O. Noll)". College Football Data Warehouse. http://www.cfbdatawarehouse.com/data/coaching/alltime_coach_game_by_game.php?coachid=6188&year=1887. Retrieved April 18, 2011.
- ↑ http://bleacherreport.com/articles/762232-100-best-coaches-in-college-basketball-history/page/51
- ↑ "2009 Men's Swimming Championship". http://www.centennial.org/championships/swimming/men/. Retrieved 2009-09-26.[dead link]
- ↑ "Women's Swimming 2009". http://www.centennial.org/swimming/women/index.html. Retrieved 2009-09-26.[dead link]
- ↑ "Centennial Conference Individual Men’s Swimming Champions 1994–2008". http://www.centennial.org/championships/swimming/men/past_champions.pdf. Retrieved 2009-09-26.[dead link]
- ↑ http://www.collegiatewaterpolo.org/club/Schedules/mensclub/2012/2012MenMidAtlanticDivision