CHARLOTTE, N.C. (www.BigSouthSports.com) - The Big South Conference today officially welcomes Longwood University as a member of the Conference, pushing the Big South membership to 12 institutions for the first time in League history. Longwood joins the Big South following five years as a Division I independent and is immediately eligible for all Big South championships and honors upon its entry.
The Big South first announced Longwood's membership on Jan. 23, 2012. Longwood sponsors 14 varsity sports at the Division I level, 13 of which are sponsored by the Big South: men's and women's basketball, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's tennis, baseball, softball, men's and women's golf, and women's lacrosse. Only women's field hockey (NorPac) will not compete in the Big South Conference.
Since becoming a full-fledged member of Division I in 2007, and without conference affiliation in all sports, Longwood has compiled an overall record of 659-675-25. Five-year highlights include the men's golf team earning an invitation to the 2007 NCAA East Regional in its first year of eligibility; men's basketball finishing 17-14 during 2008-09, and compiling a home record of 39-14 over the past four seasons; softball posting a record of 37-13 during 2011 while winning 102 games over the last three seasons (102-55); and the baseball program compiling a record of 109-81 over the past four years (2009-12). In addition, Longwood won two Atlantic Soccer Conference (ASC) Championships (2008, 2011) in men's soccer, two National Lacrosse Conference Championships (2009-10) in women's lacrosse, and one United Soccer Conference Championship (2008) in women's soccer.
In 2011-12, Longwood men's soccer won the ASC Championship with a final record of 11-6-3 for its most wins since 2002. The Colorado Rapids selected keeper Joel Helmick in the 2012 Major League Soccer (MLS) Supplemental Draft, and defender Shane Johnson earned a roster spot and starting position with the Richmond Kickers of the United Soccer League (USL) Pro Division. Men's Basketball standout Antwan Carter became the school's all-time scoring leader (1,886 points), and is the only player in the history of the program with at least 1,800 career points and 1,000 career rebounds (1,008). Longwood baseball completed its 31st winning season at 27-21, also the 31st overall 20-win campaign, and 24th season with at least 25 wins. The Lancers' softball team completed its 15th consecutive 20-win season and 12th 25-win campaign at 29-26. Longwood graduated 46 current and former student-athletes this year, including Jessica Alley -- who shared the school's prestigious Sally Barksdale Hargrett Prize for Academic Excellence awarded to the graduating senior with the highest grade-point average (4.00).
The Athletics Department recognized 117 student-athletes with Scholar-Athlete Awards for consecutive semester GPAs above 3.0. Longwood women's cross country and women's golf each posted a perfect score of 1,000 in the latest release of the multi-year NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate (APR) -- the fifth-straight year that women's golf has been perfect in posting a multi-year APR score within the top 10 percent of all Division I women's golf teams, and the second consecutive time that women's cross country has attained this distinct achievement. The Lancers' 14 sports posted most recent APR multi-year scores of 951 and higher, including three teams (men's golf, women's golf, softball) with perfect scores of 1,000 for 2010-11.
With the addition of Longwood, the Big South Conference now has four members based in Virginia (Liberty, Longwood, Radford, VMI), as well as four based in North Carolina (Campbell, Gardner-Webb, High Point, UNC Asheville) and South Carolina (Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, Presbyterian College, Winthrop).
The Lancers are 82-90-8 in competition against current Big South Conference members since 2007. This includes .500 or better records in men's basketball (7-6), women's basketball (13-13), softball (21-14), and women's soccer (15-8-3).
"The Big South Conference is proud to officially welcome Longwood University," said Big South Commissioner Kyle B. Kallander. "We are all looking forward to Longwood's leadership and competitive contributions, which will add tremendous value to the Big South well into the future."