FGCU Athletics to Join Division I Atlantic Sun Conference
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Atlantic Sun Conference has announced the addition of Florida Gulf Coast University as its newest member beginning in 2007-08. A-Sun Commissioner Bill Bibb made the announcement at a press conference held today on the FGCU campus.
"The Atlantic Sun Conference is extremely pleased to announce the addition of the Florida Gulf Coast University," said A-Sun Commissioner Bill Bibb. "We are excited about the natural rivalries; we are excited about the growth and community support that FGCU brings to the conference; and we are excited about adding a member which shares the commitment to both academics and athletics which has been a hallmark of the Atlantic Sun. The vision set forth by President Merwin and Athletics Director Carl McAloose presents an excellent plan for growth and success and we are proud that this will include being a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference."
FGCU has wasted little time in establishing the University as one of the most ambitious and fastest growing institutions in the southeast. Opening its doors in 1997, FGCU has recorded explosive growth with its enrollment expected to be in excess of 8,000 students in the fall of 2006.
Established on the verge of the 21st century, Florida Gulf Coast University infuses the strengths of the traditional public university with innovation and learning-centered spirit, its chief aim being to fulfill the academic, cultural, social, and career expectations of its constituents. Spanning 760 acres in southwest Florida, FGCU is in the enviable position of having all new facilities that were especially designed and built for a campus of the 21st century. Technology and distance learning complement the traditional campus setting, giving students a variety of delivery mode options.
"We are delighted to accept the membership invitation from the Atlantic Sun Conference," said Florida Gulf Coast University President Bill Merwin. "The Atlantic Sun Conference member institutions are widely recognized for their commitment to quality and for challenging their student-athletes to perform at the highest levels in the classroom and in the playing arena. We at FGCU share this mission of excellence for our Athletics program and our student-athletes, and we are honored to join the Atlantic Sun Conference."
The growth and enthusiasm that defines the school can be reflected in its athletics program. Since debuting in 2000 with the launch of men's and women's golf and men's and women's tennis, FGCU athletics is enjoying remarkable success as a young program only in its sixth year. In its first two seasons of NCAA post-season eligibility, FGCU athletics has had all 11 of its teams represented at NCAA Division II championship events, and during the past five years, the program has posted an overall winning percentage of over .750.
The excellence continues in 2005-06, as the Eagles will have 10 of their 11 teams represented in NCAA Division II National Championships despite competing as an independent. FGCU student-athletes excel in the classroom as well as in the playing arena. They have achieved an average 3.2 grade point average in each of the past ten semesters, with numerous student-athletes winning national academic awards. FGCU plans to expand its athletics offerings with the addition of men's and women's soccer, as well as women's swimming and diving, for 2007-08.
"We are very excited about the opportunity to join the Atlantic Sun Conference" said Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) Athletics Director Carl McAloose. "The A-Sun is an outstanding conference and we hope to continue their history of success and tradition. Joining the conference will afford us an opportunity to develop rivalries with quality schools around the southeast."
The Eagles will begin their re-classification with the 2007-08 season, playing full regular season conference schedules. With the addition of FGCU, the Atlantic Sun increases its membership to 11 institutions that represent some of the best destination cities in the southeast as well as an intriguing blend of public and private institutions with a commitment to quality academics.
Other members of the league, headquartered in Macon, Ga., include Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Gardner-Webb University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, the University of North Florida and Stetson University.