Southern Conference Names 100th Anniversary Teams
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – As the Southern Conference wraps up its celebration of its first 100 years of history as 2021 comes to a close, the league has named its 100th anniversary teams.
The league named teams in each of the sports it currently sponsors and that it has sponsored for at least 25 years.
[News of Davidson Editor’s Note: Davidson originally joined the SoCon in 1936 and was in the league until 1988. The Wildcats left the conference, only to return in 1992. They remained in the SoCon through 2014, officially joining the A-10 in 2015. – go directly to the list of Davidson scholar-athletes]
Among the criteria that merited selection to the teams were the common benchmarks of:
– Member of the collegiate hall of fame for that sport
– Member of the SoCon Hall of Fame
– National player of the year
– All-America honors in two different academic years
– SoCon Male or Female Athlete of the Year
– Two-time SoCon Player of the Year
Other benchmarks varied by sport. The teams included all honors bestowed through the 2020-21 academic year, which was the SoCon’s 100th.
“Celebrating our 100th anniversary has been special,” SoCon Commissioner Jim Schaus said. “It has allowed us to highlight many great student-athletes, teams, coaches and moments over our history. It has provided an opportunity to illustrate how the Southern Conference has withstood the test of time and thrived during world wars, The Great Depression and other significant changes. It has allowed us to celebrate our past successes, honor our current 10 member institutions and look ahead to a future vision of excellence for the next 100 years.
“We felt it is an appropriate way to end our 100th anniversary celebration by naming our 100th anniversary teams. Over our storied 100-year history, there have been thousands of outstanding student-athletes that have competed in the Southern Conference, so identifying a select group was a challenge. We developed a series of criteria that assisted with the process. Congratulations to those selected, but we want to also recognize a list of others so big we can’t count all of the talented and worthy student-athletes who have competed under the SoCon banner.”
The nation’s fifth-oldest NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association, the SoCon celebrated its 100th anniversary in a variety of ways throughout the 2021 calendar year. The most visible was the logo created for the celebration, which incorporated the primary mark the league has used since 2000. The 100th anniversary logo appeared on players’ uniforms during SoCon championships, officials’ uniforms, helmets and competition surfaces and throughout arenas and stadiums at all 10 campuses. It also appeared in printed materials and on broadcasts, social media and merchandise.
The SoCon produced and distributed videos for use during national and regional broadcasts and a special section of the league’s website, SoConSports.com, is dedicated to the anniversary and history of the league.
Former SoCon Commissioner John Iamarino wrote a coffee table book titled “A Proud Athletic History: 100 Years of the Southern Conference,” which can still be purchased via the SoCon website and several major national distributors.
The Southern Conference was founded on Feb. 25, 1921, when delegates from 15 of the 30 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association institutions met at the Piedmont Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, to finalize plans for a new conference. Alabama, Alabama Polytechnic Institute (Auburn), Clemson, Georgia, Georgia School of Technology (Georgia Tech), Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi A&M (Mississippi State), North Carolina, North Carolina State, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech) and Washington & Lee all signed on to form the Southern Intercollegiate Conference, while Tulane attended the meetings but would not join until the following year.
The league has had 44 full-time members over its illustrious history, spawning the Southeastern Conference (1932) and the Atlantic Coast Conference (1953) and currently serving as home to 10 institutions throughout six states in the Southeast. Among current members, VMI joined in 1923 and celebrated 88 years in the league in 2021 (the Keydets were not members from 2003-14). The Citadel and Furman own the longest continuous tenure in the league, as both programs joined in 1936.