What teams are in SoCon?

What is the Southern Conference?

The Southern Conference (SoCon) is an NCAA Division I athletic conference headquartered in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The SoCon is widely regarded as one of the top mid-major conferences in college athletics and features a wide range of universities from the Southeast and Appalachia regions of the United States. The conference is made up of 11 member schools spanning from North Carolina to Alabama.

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History of the Southern Conference

The Southern Conference was founded in 1921 and is the nation’s fourth-oldest athletic conference. It began as an outgrowth of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association, which was founded in 1912 and dissolved in 1921. The SoCon was originally organized to promote the basketball programs of its member institutions, but soon expanded to include all sports.

Member Schools of the Southern Conference

The SoCon currently consists of 11 member schools:

Furman University

Furman University, located in Greenville, South Carolina, is the oldest school in the conference and has been a member since 1924. The Paladins compete in 18 NCAA Division I sports, including football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and cross country.

Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University, located in Cullowhee, North Carolina, has been a member of the SoCon since 1933. The Catamounts compete in 17 NCAA Division I sports, including football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, and swimming.

The Citadel

The Citadel, located in Charleston, South Carolina, has been a member of the SoCon since 1936. The Bulldogs compete in 15 NCAA Division I sports, including football, basketball, baseball, and soccer.

Mercer University

Mercer University, located in Macon, Georgia, has been a member of the SoCon since 1938. The Bears compete in 13 NCAA Division I sports, including football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and tennis.

Samford University

Samford University, located in Birmingham, Alabama, has been a member of the SoCon since 1958. The Bulldogs compete in 18 NCAA Division I sports, including football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and cross country.

VMI

The Virginia Military Institute, located in Lexington, Virginia, has been a member of the SoCon since 2003. The Keydets compete in 12 NCAA Division I sports, including football, basketball, baseball, and wrestling.

ETSU

East Tennessee State University, located in Johnson City, Tennessee, has been a member of the SoCon since 2005. The Buccaneers compete in 16 NCAA Division I sports, including football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and tennis.

UNCG

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, located in Greensboro, North Carolina, has been a member of the SoCon since 2005. The Spartans compete in 15 NCAA Division I sports, including football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and golf.

Chattanooga

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, has been a member of the SoCon since 2005. The Mocs compete in 17 NCAA Division I sports, including football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, and swimming.

Wofford

Wofford College, located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, has been a member of the SoCon since 2008. The Terriers compete in 16 NCAA Division I sports, including football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and cross country.

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Sports Offered in the Southern Conference

The SoCon sponsors championships in 18 sports and offers a wide range of athletic opportunities for student-athletes. The conference is home to some of the best mid-major programs in the country and is one of the few Division I conferences to sponsor championships in all three NCAA divisions. The SoCon offers championships in the following sports:

  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Baseball
  • Soccer
  • Cross Country
  • Golf
  • Track & Field
  • Swimming & Diving
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Lacrosse
  • Softball
  • Rifle

Success of Southern Conference Teams

Despite its small size, the SoCon has had tremendous success in recent years. The conference has featured some of the top mid-major programs in the country and has seen its teams win multiple NCAA championships in various sports.

In football, the SoCon has been home to the Appalachian State Mountaineers, who won three consecutive FCS national championships from 2005-2007. The conference has also been home to the Furman Paladins, who won the FCS national championship in 1988.

In basketball, the conference has been home to the Davidson Wildcats, who reached the Elite Eight in 2008, and the Chattanooga Mocs, who reached the Sweet Sixteen in 1997. The SoCon has also been home to the UNC Greensboro Spartans, who reached the NCAA Tournament in 2017, and the Wofford Terriers, who reached the NCAA Tournament in 2018.

In baseball, the conference has been home to the UNC Greensboro Spartans, who won the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship in 2017, and the Furman Paladins, who reached the College World Series in 2000.

Notable Southern Conference Alumni

The SoCon has produced a number of notable alumni over the years, including:

  • Stephen Curry – NBA star and two-time MVP (Davidson)
  • Rudy Gay – NBA All-Star (UConn)
  • Davidson – NFL Hall of Fame running back (Appalachian State)
  • Vernon Davis – NFL Pro Bowler (Maryland)
  • Randy Johnson – MLB Hall of Fame pitcher (UNCG)
  • John Isner – Professional tennis player (Georgia)
  • Dee Dee Bonner – NFL tight end (Vanderbilt)
  • Scottie Pippen – NBA Hall of Fame forward (Central Arkansas)
  • Troy Aikman – NFL Hall of Fame quarterback (Oklahoma)
  • Kobe Bryant – NBA legend (VMI)

Southern Conference Championships

The SoCon also hosts an annual conference championship in each sport. The conference championship is typically held in the spring and features the top teams from the regular season. The conference champion in each sport earns an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Conclusion

The Southern Conference is one of the top mid-major conferences in college athletics and is home to some of the best programs in the country. The conference has a long history and is comprised of 11 member schools spanning from North Carolina to Alabama. The SoCon offers championships in 18 sports and has seen its teams win multiple NCAA championships in various sports. The conference also has a number of notable alumni, including NBA stars Stephen Curry and Rudy Gay, NFL Hall of Famer David Johnson, and baseball legend Randy Johnson. The SoCon also hosts an annual conference championship in each sport and the conference champion earns an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.