Arizona Christian University President Len Munsil announced today that ACU will begin an NAIA intercollegiate football program next year, with Firestorm football making its debut in the fall of 2014.

“We could not be more thrilled to begin the only non-Division 1, four-year college football program in Arizona,” said Munsil. “Thousands of young men play high school football in Arizona, but only a few can play for one of our three major universities. Each year, hundreds of Arizona players go out of state to play small college football. We are excited to be able to provide an opportunity for many of these student athletes to continue their career in front of family and friends.”

ACU will immediately undertake a national search for the program’s first coach.

“ACU is a fully accredited, degree-granting institution with a distinct Christian purpose,” Munsil said. “As an institution, we are committed to educating and equipping the next generation of Christian leaders. So we seek a coach who can recruit and lead student athletes to be successful not only on the field and in the classroom, but also in their spiritual life.”

Junior college and large high school stadiums will be considered for home games during the 2014 season, with ACU pursuing a more permanent home in future years.

Arizona Christian University competes in 15 sports as a member of the Golden State Athletics Conference, a non-football playing conference. It likely will compete as an NAIA Independent, but also will explore football-only conference alignments.

ACU’s athletic department has secured preliminary commitments that will enable the Firestorm to play a complete schedule of games in 2014, and to be eligible for the national playoffs. ACU’s first football schedule will be released in the next few weeks.

The NAIA has a 16-team national football playoff with teams determined by conference championships and national ranking. The national championship game is held each year in Rome, Georgia, and televised live across America on the CBS Sports Network in mid-December.

ACU expects to recruit at least 65 student athletes for its first varsity team, and will have sizable athletic scholarships available for high-achieving students and athletes. Students who transfer to ACU in January will have the opportunity to get a head start by participating in spring football drills in front of the new coaching staff.

Recent athletic success at ACU include a nationally televised conference championship game, followed by an at-large bid to the NAIA national tournament in Kansas City for the 2012-13 men’s basketball team. The men’s baseball program, only three years old, has produced a conference championship, an appearance in the NCCAA College World Series, and five players drafted by Major League Baseball. In addition to men’s basketball and baseball, the men’s cross country and women’s tennis teams have received votes in NAIA national polls.

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About Arizona Christian University

Arizona Christian University is an accredited, private, non-profit, Christian university in Phoenix offering degrees in Behavioral Health, Biblical Studies, Biology, Business Administration, Christian Ministries, Communication, Education, Family Studies, Music, Music Education, Political Science, as well as pre-law and pre-med tracks. All students graduate with a minor in Bible, regardless of major. With more than 650 students and a student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1, ACU’s professors are committed to developing the complete person through the integration of faith and learning.

Founded in 1960 as Southwestern Conservative Baptist Bible College, the school changed names in 2011 to Arizona Christian University and continues to grow at its campus on Cactus Road in north central Phoenix.  A member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, ACU competes in the National Christian College Athletics Association Division I and offers baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. Since 2008, ACU has offered a degree completion program with evening classes available for working professionals. For more information, visit