Longwood to join Big South
Longwood was invited to join the conference following a vote by the Big South Council of Chief Executive Officers. Longwood’s addition increases the Big South membership to 12 institutions for the first time in league history.
“Longwood University will be an outstanding member of the Big South Conference,” said Big South Conference Commissioner Kyle B. Kallander. “Longwood features strong leadership, an outstanding academic reputation, and a commitment to Division I athletic success. It also values student-athlete well-being. These are all characteristics that are shared by Big South members and make Longwood a wonderful fit. We are excited to welcome the Longwood Lancers to the Big South family.”
“We are excited and thrilled that Longwood University has been invited to join the Big South Conference,” stated Longwood President Patrick Finnegan. “We believe that participation in the Big South will enhance school spirit by developing rivalries both in state and beyond, will boost our recruiting abilities, and will allow us to demonstrate the skill of our student-athletes in a conference setting where they could be rewarded with participation in NCAA tournaments.
“By limiting the travel time for our student-athletes through conference play close to home, we will be able to continue to put the ‘student’ first. We look forward to showing that our Lancers can be competitive both on the field of play and in the classroom, while increasing the visibility for our outstanding institution.”
Longwood sponsors 14 intercollegiate Division I sports, 13 of which are sponsored by the Big South: baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, along with men’s and women’s tennis. The Lancers’ field hockey program will continue to compete within the Northern Pacific Field Hockey Conference (NorPac), as it has since 2005.
“I am overjoyed by the news that we will be joining the Big South Conference in 2012,” said Longwood Director of Athletics Troy Austin. “The student-athletes, coaches, and athletics staff members now have a place to call home. Knowing that we will be associated with a fine group of institutions enhances this fantastic opportunity. My thanks go to the Longwood family and all of the individuals who helped to elevate Longwood during our time as an Independent. This moment would not be possible without their support. Now that we have found conference affiliation, the future of Longwood Athletics is brighter than ever, and I am excited to be a part of it.”
Since becoming Division I-eligible in 2007, Longwood is 77-73-8 (.513) in competition against current Big South members in its league-sponsored sports. This includes winning records in men’s basketball (7-6), softball (19-11) and women’s soccer (14-8-3). Also facing Big South teams since 2007 were baseball (10-12), women’s basketball (12-13), men’s soccer (8-9-4), men’s tennis (4-7) and women’s tennis (3-7).
Overall since 2007, and without conference affiliation in all sports, the Lancers have compiled a winning record of 564-552-27 (.505) through the recent fall sports. Highlights include
• Men’s Golf: Invitation to the 2007 NCAA East Regional in the program’s first year of eligibility
• Men’s Basketball: 17-14 record in 2008-09
• Softball: 37-13 record in spring 2011 and 73-29 over the last two seasons (2010, 2011)
• Baseball: 82-60 over the past three seasons (2009, 2010, 2011)
• Men’s Soccer: Two Atlantic Soccer Conference Championships (2008, 2011)
• Women’s Lacrosse: Two National Lacrosse Conference Championships (2009, 2010)
• Women’s Soccer: One United Soccer Conference Championship (2008)
With the addition of Longwood, the Big South Conference will now have four members based in Virginia (Liberty, Longwood, Radford, VMI), as well as four each in North Carolina (Campbell, Gardner-Webb, High Point, UNC Asheville) and South Carolina (Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, Presbyterian College, Winthrop).
Founded in 1983, the Big South Conference has matured into a competitive leader in college athletics, actively pursuing excellence on the field of play and in the classroom. With a motto of “Developing Leaders Through Athletics,” the Big South Conference continues to succeed on the field through its 19 championship sports while intentionally fostering the academic, personal, social, athletic and leadership development of its student-athletes.
The institutions of the Big South Conference – Campbell University, Charleston Southern University, Coastal Carolina University, Gardner-Webb University, High Point University, Liberty University, Presbyterian College, Radford University, UNC Asheville, Virginia Military Institute and Winthrop University – have a remarkable history of achievement. The Big South will begin sponsoring women’s lacrosse in 2012-13.