HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Coker College has accepted an invitation to join the South Atlantic Conference for its athletic programs, Coker College President Robert Wyatt announced today.
The South Atlantic Conference Presidents Council voted unanimously to extend the invitation both to Coker and Queens University of Charlotte, which also accepted the invitation. Both institutions will begin competition in the conference in the 2013-14 academic year. The additions will increase the number of SAC members to 12 institutions and marks the conference’s first expansion since 2010, when Anderson University joined the league.
"The South Atlantic Conference is a signature conference in Division II, and we embrace this opportunity as a vital step in our efforts to expand and enrich Coker College athletics,” said Wyatt. “In terms of reaching Coker’s long-term goals, SAC membership is a real game-changer. I am excited and proud to accept this invitation.”
Coker will be the SAC’s third member institution from the Palmetto State, while Queens, based in Charlotte, N.C., becomes the league’s sixth member from North Carolina.
“On behalf of our presidents, athletic directors, coaches, student-athletes and fans, I am thrilled to welcome two elite academic and athletic institutions in Coker and Queens,” said SAC Commissioner Patrick Britz. “We believe that the addition of these two fine schools will enhance the experience of all SAC student-athletes and elevate the visibility and long-term strength of the conference.”
U.S. News and World Report recognized Coker as No. 18 in its 2012 Regional College South Rankings and Queens as No. 21 in its 2012 Regional University South Rankings.
“The South Atlantic Conference is privileged and excited to welcome Coker College and Queens University as members,” said Dr. Wayne Powell, chair of the SAC Presidents Council and president at Lenoir-Rhyne University. “Both schools will bring impressive pedigrees to the league.
“The Presidents Council unanimously agreed that the academic and athletic cultures at Coker and Queens are consistent with the vision of the South Atlantic Conference and will mesh seamlessly with our 10 current member institutions.”
Coker will compete in 13 of the SAC’s 14 championship sports, with football being the lone exception. Queens will participate in all SAC sports except baseball and football.
Coker’s athletic program produced 20 all-conference, two Capital One Academic All-District and one Capital One Academic All-America selections in the 2011-12 academic year. The Coker men’s golf team captured the 2012 Conference Carolinas championship, and the men’s soccer program earned its first-ever NCAA championship selection last fall.
“Looking ahead, the transition into the SAC presents an opportunity to develop our student-athletes on a new level, and we are eager for the start of conference competition in the 2013-14 season,” said Dr. Lynn Griffin, Coker’s athletic director. “It is an honor and privilege to accept this invitation to the SAC.”
Logistics of Coker and Queens’ integration into the SAC, including the possibility of divisional play, will be vetted by the conference’s leadership groups in June.
About the South Atlantic Conference
The South Atlantic Conference is an intercollegiate athletic conference that competes at the NCAA Division II level and is composed of 10 member institutions competing in 14 championship sports. The members include Anderson University, Brevard College, Carson-Newman College, Catawba College, Lenoir-Rhyne University, Lincoln Memorial University, Mars Hill College, Newberry College, Tusculum College and Wingate University.
The SAC aspires to be the premier NCAA Division II athletic conference in the country, a conference where a high priority of each member institution is a balance between athletics and the overall academic, spiritual, social and physical development of each student-athlete to provide these individuals with life skills for future success.
About Coker College
Coker College has a total undergraduate enrollment of approximately 1,200 students and offers 50 areas of study. The college is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the National Association of Schools of Music and the South Carolina Board of Education.
Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the “Best Colleges” in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.