Alabama–Huntsville Chargers

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Alabama Huntsville Chargers
Logo
University University of Alabama in Huntsville
Conference Gulf South Conference, Western Collegiate Hockey Association (hockey), Peach Belt Conference (track & field)
NCAA Division II (Division I hockey)
Athletic director Dr. E. J. Brophy
Location Huntsville, AL
Varsity teams 14 (7 men's, 7 women's)
Arena Spragins Hall
Baseball stadium Charger Park
Soccer stadium Charger Park
Other arenas Von Braun Center
Mascot Charger Blue
Nickname Chargers
Colors
     Blue       White
Website uahchargers.com

The Alabama Huntsville Chargers (or UAH Chargers) are the intercollegiate athletic teams representing the University of Alabama in Huntsville in Huntsville, Alabama.

UAH sponsors eight men's and eight women's varsity athletics programs. UAH is a member of the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA), competing in Division II in 13 sports and Division I in men's ice hockey. UAH is a member of the Gulf South Conference in all sports except hockey, which will begin play in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in the 2013-14 season.

UAH was the host institution for the 2012 Frozen Four at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida.

History[edit]

Student athletic clubs for crew, soccer, and basketball had formed when UAH became an independent institution in 1969. The original team mascot, selected through student contest, was the Uhlan, a non-traditional nickname containing the letters U, A, and H. The name was amended to Uhlan Chargers for the war horses the Uhlans rode, and as a nod to the electricity generated in the Tennessee Valley region through the Tennessee Valley Authority. Over time, the use of the name Uhlan faded, leaving Chargers as the official mascot. The students chose blue and white as the colors to avoid similarity to the crimson and white of UAH's parent school, the University of Alabama.[1]

In 1973, UAH's elevated its crew, men's soccer, and men's basketball, to varsity status, and the university became a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).[2][3]

Women's basketball was added in 1977.[4] Men's ice hockey was elevated from club to varsity in 1985,[5] along with the addition of men's and women's cross country.[6]

UAH became a Division II member of the NCAA beginning with the 1986-87 academic year, along with the addition of volleyball[7] and tennis programs. Men's and women's cross country was suspended in 1987 because of proration, but were reinstated in 1992.[6]

UAH joined the Gulf South Conference in 1993. Baseball,[8] softball[9] and women's soccer[10] were added in 1996.

The creation of track and field programs for women (2001) and men (2004) raised the number of programs to its current level of 14.[11] The track and field programs are affiliate members of the Peach Belt Conference.

Former UAH varsity programs are men's golf (eliminated in 1987)[6] and crew (relegated in club status).[12]

Current UAH varsity programs:

Program highlights[edit]

Ice hockey[edit]

The UAH ice hockey program started in 1979 as a club program and quickly became a national power, winning national championships in 1982, 1983 and 1984. The program was elevated to varsity status in 1985.

After one season in NAIA competition, the Chargers played at the NCAA Division II level for 1986-87, and then Division I from 1987-92. UAH returned to Division II play in 1992, and won national championships in 1996 and 1998.

UAH returned to Division I in 1999 as a charter member of College Hockey America, where the Chargers won two tournament titles and earned berths in the NCAA tournament in 2007 and 2010. Since the folding of the CHA in 2010, UAH has played as a Division I independent program.[5] UAH will begin play in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in the 2013-14 season.[13]

UAH was the host institution for the 2012 Frozen Four at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida.

Men's basketball[edit]

Varsity basketball at UAH began in 1973 under coach Kayo Willis, who turned the Chargers into an NAIA power. Willis compiled a 205-136 record over 11 seasons as the Chargers won or shared five Southern States Conference titles, five SSC Tournament titles and four NAIA District 27 titles. In 1980-81, UAH went 30-7 and reached the NAIA championship game, losing to Bethany Nazarene College 86-85 in overtime.

Lennie Acuff has been the head coach at UAH since 1997, and is the program's all-time winningest coach. UAH has won at least a share of six GSC Eastern Division or league regular season titles, and one GSC Tournament title (2012). The Chargers have appeared in the NCAA Division II Tournament seven times (2000, 2003, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013).

UAH's best seasons since joining the NCAA have come in the last two years. In 2010-11, the Chargers went 29-5, hosted the South Regional and earned their first berth in the Elite Eight, losing to Minnesota State 95-91 in the quarterfinals.[2]

UAH went 29-4 in 2011-12, winning the GSC regular season title, its first GSC Tournament title, and another South Region championship at home. The Chargers lost to Bellarmine in the Elite Eight quarterfinals, 82-73.

In 2012, UAH was the first Division II program to participate in the NIT Season Tip-Off.[14] The Chargers faced four Division I opponents, and defeated North Texas 78-75 in the first round before losing to Kansas State, Cleveland State, and Bowling Green. The Chargers had a 25-6 record in 2012-13, earning their third straight appearance in the South Region championship game.

Women's basketball[edit]

The UAH women's basketball program began in 1977 as a member of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW). The program joined the NAIA in 1981, and under then-athletics director Dennis Killips, reached the finals of the regional tournament.

Donna Caldwell Dunnaway took over as head coach in 1982, and led the Lady Chargers to district championship. UAH lost to Southwestern Oklahoma, 80-68, in the 1983 NAIA national championship game in Kansas City and finished 27-8.[4]

In the 2011-12 season, UAH had its best record in 29 years under current head coach Roy Heintz. The Lady Chargers won 23 games, losing seven, while earning their first GSC tournament final berth and NCAA Division II tournament berth.[15]

The Lady Chargers returned to the NCAA tournament in 2012-13 after winning their first GSC tournament championship. UAH defeated Tuskegee 78-69 for its first NCAA tournament victory before losing to Delta State, 81-58.

Softball[edit]

Les Stuedeman has been the head coach of the UAH softball program since its inception in 1996, winning 894 games through the 2014 season. The Chargers have averaged 47 wins per year. UAH has appeared in the GSC championship game 12 times, winning eight titles.

UAH has earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament 17 times in 19 seasons (including 12 straight from 2003-2014), winning the South Region title four times (1999, 2001, 2009, and 2011). The Chargers have reached the national championship game twice, losing to Lock Haven 8-0 in 2009 and losing to UC San Diego 10-3 in 2011.[10]

Baseball[edit]

UAH began baseball play in 1996 under head coach Bobby Pierce, who guided the Chargers to four GSC East Division titles and one GSC championship (2001). UAH reached the NCAA Division II tournament four straight seasons (1998-2001), reaching the South Central Region finals in 1999 and 2000. Pierce would leave UAH in 2002 to become head coach at Troy State.[8] The Chargers won the GSC championship in 2014 and earned NCAA Tournament berths in 2012 and 2014 under coach Hunter Royer.

Men's soccer[edit]

UAH soccer began in 1969 when students approached Dr. Ostap Stromecky for his assistance in forming a club team. Stromecky would coach the Chargers for 21 years, compiling a 265-90-29 record at the club and varsity levels. UAH became an intercollegiate sport in the fall of 1973, joining the NAIA. UAH won the NAIA District 27 championship 16 times and earned six berths in the NAIA national tournament. UAH lost to Quincy University 2-0 in the 1978 national championship game. Stromecky retired from coaching in 1990.

Under coach Carlos Petersen, UAH won GSC championships in 1996 and 1997, and earned its first NCAA Division II tournament berth in 1997.[3]

Other accomplishments[edit]

  • The volleyball program has reached the NCAA Division II tournament twice (1998 and 1999).[7]
  • The women's cross country program has won 3 GSC titles (1999, 2003 and 2004) and reached the NCAA championships twice (2003 and 2004). The men's team won the GSC title in 2007, 2011 and 2012.[6]

Facilities[edit]

Spragins Hall is the home of the basketball and volleyball teams, as well as the athletics department. It is named after Marion Beirne Spragins, who was a major contributor to the establishment of UAH.[16]

Propst Arena at the Von Braun Center is the home of the men's ice hockey team.

Charger Field is the home of the soccer teams.

Charger Park, built in 2010, is the home of the baseball and softball teams.

Traditions[edit]

Fight song[edit]

We are the Chargers who wear blue and white

We have the courage and the strength to fight

Shout the battle cry! U! A! H!

Have pride in your blue and white!

(Repeat)

Pep band[edit]

The UAH pep band has claimed to have the "World's Longest Cheer", which consists of the crowd being directed to repeat each letter of the university's formal name, including spaces between words ("The University of Alabama in Huntsville"). After this, the cheer continues with "Now say it like a marketing major!" (to which the response is "UAHuntsville") and concludes with "Now say it like an engineer!" (the response being "UAH", which is then repeated several times. In the event of an interruption (such as a score), the pep band will resume where it left off after playing the fight song.

Blue Crew[edit]

The UAH Blue Crew is the student spirit group for UAH athletic events.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Origin story: How UAH got its nickname and colors". UAHHockey.com. Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Men's Basketball History". UAH Sports Information. 
  3. ^ a b "Men's Soccer History". UAH Sports Information. Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  4. ^ a b "Women's Basketball Records and History". UAH Sports Information. Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  5. ^ a b "Hockey History". UAH Sports Information. Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Men's Cross Country History". UAH Sports Information. Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  7. ^ a b "Volleyball History". UAH Sports Information. Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  8. ^ a b "Baseball History". UAH Sports Information. Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  9. ^ "Women's Soccer History". UAH Sports Information. Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  10. ^ a b "Softball History". UAH Sports Information. Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  11. ^ "Women's Track & Field History". UAH Sports Information. Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  12. ^ "UAH Crew". Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  13. ^ "WCHA Grants Full-Time Membership to University of Alabama in Huntsville". Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  14. ^ "Chargers Invited To NIT Season Tip-Off". UAH Sports Information. Retrieved 2012-09-25. 
  15. ^ "Lady Chargers Selected To NCAA South Regional". UAH Sports Information. 
  16. ^ "Marion Beirne Spragins". University of Alabama Culverhouse College of Commerce. Retrieved 2012-01-29. 

External links[edit]