North Alabama Lions

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
North Alabama Lions
Logo
University University of North Alabama
Conference Gulf South Conference
NCAA NCAA Division II
Athletic director Mark Linder
Location Florence, AL
Varsity teams 12 men's & 12 women's
Football stadium Braly Municipal Stadium
Basketball arena Flowers Hall
Baseball stadium Mike D. Lane Field
Soccer stadium UNA Soccer Field
Mascot Leo III & Una
Nickname Lions
Colors
     Purple       Gold
Website www.roarlions.com

The North Alabama Lions are the athletic teams of the University of North Alabama, located in Florence, Alabama. The Lions are a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II and compete within the Gulf South Conference (GSC). The university has a total of 12 varsity sports teams, six men's teams and six women's teams. They have earned numerous national titles competing in NCAA Division II's Gulf South Conference.[1] UNA is currently exploring a move from Division II to Division I. The Ohio Valley Conference has been provided statistical information about UNA's athletic programs, including sports, scholarships, attendance, history, and number of student athletes.[2]

Sports[edit]

Members of the UNA Lion Pride spirit team sporting the traditional school colors, purple and gold. The team, begun in 2007, is charged with generating school spirit not only on the athletic field but also on campus.

The UNA Athletic Department sponsors the following sports:

Football[edit]

Coach Bobby Wallace, UNA President Robert Potts, and members of the 1995 National Championship team pose with President Bill Clinton and U.S. Senator Howell Heflin at the White House.

Based on a history compiled by the university’s official athletic Web site, football had an especially inauspicious beginning at Florence Normal School. The institution’s first football game in 1912 ended with Florence losing to Sewanee 101-0.[3] The institution carried on with a football program for 16 years despite similar poor results, finally terminating the program in 1928 after losing to twice to Marion Institute, 86-0 and 85-0.

However, following the resumption of football in 1949 by then-President E.B. Norton, the situation has greatly improved.

UNA Lions emerging from the Lion Victory Tunnel at Braly Municipal Stadium before the start of a UNA home game in 2007.

The most successful era in UNA football history occurred during Bobby Wallace's tenure as head football coach. Following a four-year rebuilding period after Wallace's arrival, the Lions compiled a 7-4-1 record in 1992 and lost in the second round of the Division II playoffs to Jacksonville State University, the eventual Division II national champion.

Over the next three years from 1993-95, UNA amassed a 41-1 record, which also encompassed three Gulf South Conference Championships and three consecutive NCAA Division II National Champions — the first so-called three-peat in NCAA history.[4]

Mark Hudspeth amassed a 54-19 record since taking over the UNA head coaching job in 2002. Over 5 years from 2002 to 2007, the Lions had the winningest record out of any college football programs in the state, going 50-12. Hudspeth led the Lions to at least a top-six finish four times in five years. He was named the Gulf South Conference Coach of the Year twice.[5]

On January 1, 2009, former Auburn football coach Terry Bowden was introduced as head coach. He replaced Mark Hudspeth, who left to join Mississippi State University as an assistant coach. Bowden brought a 111-53-2 record to the school in addition to a long list of accomplishments that included being named the 1993 National Coach of the Year, which stemmed from his first season as head coach in Division IA at Auburn University. He led his squad to an undefeated season in (1993). Janoris Jenkins is the key player for the team. Bowden led the Lions to 11-2, 9-4 and 9-3 records before leaving to become head coach at Akron after the 2011 season.

Bobby Wallace returned to North Alabama on January 2, 2012 after a year out of coaching.

Basketball[edit]

The University of North Alabama's basketball program has earned two Division II national championships and has made five Division II Final Four appearances and has played in nine NCAA Division II championship tournaments. UNA was the first Alabama college or university to win a national championship title in basketball and is only one of four Division II programs to have won more than one Division II basketball national championships.

Under Coach Bill L. Jones’ leadership, the Lions won three Gulf South Conference championships in 1977, 1981, and 1984 and three GSC Tournament Titles in 1981, 1984 and 1988. Jones led UNA to NCAA Tournaments in 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1984 and 1988, with his teams winning regional crowns in 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1984.

Coach Gary Elliott led the Lions to their second national championship in 1991, as well as to four NCAA appearances in 1991, 1994, 1995, and 1996.

Bobby Champagne, UNA’s sixth head basketball coach, has led the Lions to three straight Gulf South Conference tournament appearances and to the program’s first NCAA Tournament since 1996.[6]

Women's Volleyball[edit]

The University of North Alabama women’s volleyball program holds numerous conference and regional titles and one Division II national championship, earned in 2003.

For the Lion's volleyball team, 2003 was a year marked with irony. While the team failed to win a GSC title for the first time in eight years, it excelled in the NCAA South Central Regional, Elite Eight and Final Four to secure the first national championship ever claimed by a UNA women’s athletic team.[7]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°49′N 87°41′W / 34.81°N 87.68°W / 34.81; -87.68