Carson–Newman Eagles

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Carson–Newman Eagles
University Carson–Newman University
Conference South Atlantic Conference
NCAA Division II
Athletic director Allen Morgan
Location Jefferson City, TN
Varsity teams 19
Football stadium Burke-Tarr Stadium
Basketball arena Holt Fieldhouse
Nickname Eagles
Colors Orange and Blue

The Carson–Newman Eagles are the athletic teams that represent the Carson–Newman University (formerly Carson–Newman College), located in Jefferson City, Tennessee, in NCAA Division II intercollegiate sports. The Eagles compete as members of the South Atlantic Conference for all 19 varsity sports. The Eagles hold six national championships, five in football and one in baseball in the history of the program.

Carson–Newman has been a member of the South Atlantic Conference since 1975, when the league was still part of the NAIA before making a transition to the Division II level in 1994.


The Eagles previously competed in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) as members of the Smoky Mountain Conference, the Volunteer State Athletic Conference (VCAC), and later its successor, the Tennessee Valley Athletic Conference (TVAC). The football team joined the SAC in 1975 when it was still a football-only conference known as SAC-8.

Athletic Hall of Fame[edit]

The Carson-Newman athletics program began on June 3, 1893. The baseball team became the first organized group and earned a 4-3 win over the University of Tennessee in 1895, the school's first intercollegiate contest.

An administrative committee was developed and led by President Cordell Maddox to start the Carson-Newman Athletics Hall of Fame and the opening class of 1985. It included seven men and one woman, Dana X. Bible, Roy Harmon, Sam B. "Frosty" Holt, Mae Iddins, Bernie Moore, Lake Russell, Milas "Slim" Shoun and Earnest Tucker.

To be inducted, a person must be 10 years removed from their Carson-Newman career. In 1994, membership was opened to individuals who invested their lives in leading C-N sports. Coach Dick Campbell (basketball) and Bobby Wilson (baseball) were inducted the following year.

One of the driving forces for the program was 1970 C-N graduate David Barger. The current Athletic Director Emeritus started as the Director of Athletic Promotions in 1980 then Director of Athletic Development before being named Athletic Director in 1990, a post he would hold until 2012. He and Holt are the only two people in the history of Carson-Newman to hold the title of Athletic Director Emeritus.

Dr. Maddox, the 22-year president of Carson-Newman and a former football player in the 1960s, asked Barger to collect information from other schools on how those institutions developed halls of fame.

"There were several of us who started brainstorming in late 1983 and the spring of 1984," Barger recalled. "The president gave us the green light to put together the infrastructure and the bylaws for a Hall of Fame. He took it to his cabinet and it was approved for a college sponsored activity. It went pretty quick. We put it together and inducted our first class in 12-18 months from when the discussions began."

The first induction took place in Butler-Blanc Gymnasium going back to the roots of the athletic programs to honor the eight-member opening class. The hope from day one was to make sure that not just great athletes would be honored.

"We really want to recognize people that have distinguished themselves as players, coaches and administrators," Barger said. "It is really important because athletic prowess is what a Hall of Fame is for. It's also important that a Carson-Newman Hall of Famer embraces what the university stands for – higher quality Christian education. Those things integrate together to make a true Carson-Newman athletic hall of famer."

There have been 17 classes inducted since its inception in 1985. The largest class to ever be inducted was an 11-member 1986 group followed by the eight people enshrined in 1985 and in 2009. The smallest class came in 1993 when John Ed Dowling (class of 1937) and Libby Hudson Gardner (class of 1968) were honored. The most common amount is four members having happened on four occasions followed by six and seven, done three times each. A three-member group has been inducted twice and a five-member class has happened once.

11 varsity sports are represented in the Hall of Fame as 28 of the members qualified as multi-sport stars. Among sports that had members listed in just one sport, football has 19 members, administrators and coaches have 13, men's basketball has 10, women's basketball has seven, baseball has four and softball has three. Men's tennis, women's tennis and wrestling each have two inductees. Men's golf, men's soccer and track each have one person with a plaque on the wall.

Notable Coaches and Athletes[edit]

1998 inductee Sylvia Hatchell was a dual-sport star at Carson-Newman playing volleyball and basketball. The coaching veteran began her career as a junior varsity coach at the University of Tennessee before going to Francis Marion. In 1986, Hatchell was given the reins of the women's basketball program at the University of North Carolina where she will begin her 31st season Wednesday night against the Lady Eagles of C-N in exhibition play.

Overall in her career, Hatchell has a 975-358 record, third in the history of women's basketball behind Pat Summitt and Stanford's Tara Vanderveer. She has won a national championship at the AIAW in 1982, the NAIA in 1986 and the NCAA in 1994.

Hatchell is a two-time national coach of the year and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.

In an interview with the Eagle Sports Network in 2014, she credited her time in Jefferson City for developing her as a person.

"I learned so many things from people at Carson-Newman about putting a group of people together and exceeding expectations," Hatchell said. "Never let someone tell you that you can't do something. You can always do something. I've exceeded expectations because of the mentality that I developed when I was at Carson-Newman.

"It was great with such a sense of community. I still think that's one of the things that makes Carson-Newman unique is that sense of community that everybody has. Carson-Newman is all about the people that are still there and the ones that have gone through Carson-Newman and that's what makes it such a special place. I enjoyed all of my friends there, playing volleyball and basketball. I wasn't very good in volleyball, but I was a lot better in basketball. It was one of the best times of my life. I have such a love for the place but more so for the people."

The theme resonates with Jefferson City native and 10-year Major League Baseball veteran Clyde Wright. The southpaw spoke with the Eagle Sports Network during the 50-year reunion of Carson-Newman's first national championship, the 1965 NAIA baseball title team.

It was a season that almost did not happen as Wright was offered $25,000 to sign with the New York Yankees following his junior year. He elected to come back to C-N and signed for $10,000 with the Angels following his senior campaign but had no regrets.

"Our baseball coach, Frosty Holt, came to me and said 'I have one scholarship left, but I want to give it to someone else. The townspeople will help you out'," Wright said. "The townspeople paid my way through college. I made the agreement with them that if they paid for my college, I will graduate. That's the reason I didn't sign with the Yankees. The point was that I kept my word to graduate. I don't forget the people that helped me."

Wright was the Most Valuable Player of the 1965 NAIA World Series in which the Eagles defeated Nebraska-Omaha 3-2.

Wright still holds the record for strikeouts in a game with 22, strikeouts in the tournament with 37 and innings pitched in one game with 13.

The Jefferson City, Tenn. native went on to pitch 10 seasons in Major League Baseball where he hurled the second no-hitter in California Angels history, won a club record 22 games, pitched in the 1970 All-Star Game and won 100 games but his time in an Eagle uniform is at the top of his baseball memory bank.

"We had two excellent coaches," Wright said about the 1965 team. "The other thing that was really special was that it was like a band of brothers. There was no animosity towards anybody. Everybody got along. We played together. We stayed together. We did everything together. It was just one big, happy family.

"I grew up here. I know more about Frosty than anyone else because I grew up here. This is where I grew up and this is where I come home to. We met some super people at Carson-Newman. Every place I go, I've been in every state playing baseball, somebody always comes up and asks me about Carson-Newman."

The lineage of nationally recognized athletes, coaches and administrators is extends from the early 19th century to current day as evident by the charter members of the Hall of Fame.

Dana X. Bible, an initial inductee, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1951. The Jefferson City, Tenn. native was a star athlete at C-N before coaching at Texas A&M, Nebraska and Texas. With a cumulative record of 198-72-23, the 1912 Carson-Newman alumnus won three national championships, 1919 and 1927 with Texas A&M and 1941 with Texas.

1917 Carson-Newman alumnus Bernie Moore, an inaugural Hall of Fame member, was a tackle on the football team and went on to coach Louisiana State University's track and field team to the 1933 national championship. The 1952 College Football Hall of Fame inductee coached LSU's football team from 1935-47 going 83-39-6.

Moore was named the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference in 1948 and remained at the post until 1966. LSU's track complex is named the Bernie Moore Track Stadium and he was named the first winner of the James J. Corbett Memorial Award given "to the collegiate administrator who through the years has most typified Corbett's devotion to intercollegiate athletics and worked unceasingly for its betterment."

"Dana X. Bible and Bernie go together as a package," Barger said. "Bible grew up on a farm just outside of Jefferson City. After Bible and Moore were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, Carson-Newman was the first institution of higher learning in the United States to have two members in the College Football Hall of Fame.

"Bernie Moore was one of the real innovators in college football coaching. He was one of the first coaches to have the quarterback under center. In the summer of 1947, Moore and Frosty Holt got together at the old Farragut Hotel in Knoxville and Bernie schooled Frosty in some of the mechanics in taking the snap under center."

The 1947 season saw the Eagle football program finish the year 8-1-2 with a Smoky Mountain Athletic Conference Championship and the school's first bowl bid. C-N fell 20-6 to West Chester in the Burley Bowl.

In the same graduating class as Hatchell, Carl Torbush was first-team NAIA All-American in baseball and football at Carson-Newman. After a brief stint in the Kansas City Royals organization, Torbush began a coaching career that has spanned 32 seasons.

The 1989 C-N Hall of Fame inductee has been at 12 different schools and has been a head coach at Louisiana Tech, North Carolina and currently mans the East Tennessee State sideline.

"I have known Carl Torbush since our days together going to college at Carson-Newman," Hatchell said when Torbush was hired at East Tennessee State. "He was a tremendous athlete and a great student, and he always treated everybody the same – like they were the most important person in the world. He always has time for people, whether they are the president of the university or a janitor. They don't come any better. While he's a great football coach, he's an even better person. He's a class act in every aspect of his life."

Todd Collins became a third-round pick in the 1992 National Football League Draft by the New England Patriots. A two-time All-American at Carson-Newman, the New Market, Tenn. native led Jefferson County High School to the 1987 TSSAA AAA State Championship, the lone title in the school's history, and won the 1989 NAIA National Championship for the Eagles.

Collins started at linebacker for the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI and for the Super Bowl Champion St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV.

Included in the list are current Carson-Newman head coaches Ken Sparks, Hall of Fame class of 1989, Vickee Kazee-Hollifield, a 2002 inductee and Dr. Jean Love, a 2002 selection.

Sparks is in his 37th season and is the winningest active coach sitting in fifth-place on the NCAA's all-time wins list. He is one of 13 coaches to win at least 300 games in his career. Sparks is a member of the Division II College Football, NAIA, SAC, Tennessee Sports and Knoxville Sports Halls of Fame.

Kazee-Hollifield graduated from C-N in 1983 and was a member of the Carson-Newman women's basketball team. She has racked up 1,092 career coaching victories, 23 SAC Championships while being 4th in NCAA history in career winning percentage and fifth in Division wins.

Love graduated in 1983 earned NAIA All-American honors in 1981 and 1983. She was seeded first in the 1981 NAIA tournament and made it all the way to the semifinals of the 1983 tourney.

She received NAIA honorable mention accolades in 1982 and was an NAIA Scholar Athlete in 1983. She still holds the C-N women's career doubles victory record with 88 wins.

There are two assistant coaches on campus that are members of the hall of fame. Running backs coach Mike Clowney was inducted on Saturday and assistant running backs coach Mac Lambert was enshrined in 2011.

Clowney – the Eagles' current associate head coach - ranks sixth all-time with 353 tackles. He was a first team All-American in 1996, one of six Eagles all-time to earn consensus All-America honors. Named South Atlantic Conference Defensive Players of the Year in 1996, Clowney was inducted into the SAC Hall of Fame in 2015. He led C-N to its first NCAA National Championship appearance.

Lambert was a team captain on the 1954 football team that finished 5-2-2 and was the president of the men's student government. He spent time as the head coach at six different high schools in East Tennessee and has been on Carson-Newman's coaching staff for a combination of 21 seasons.

The Notables

Mae Iddins, class of 1926 and an inaugural inductee, was the first female to be inducted and spent more than 40 years at Mossy Creek developing the female athletics program and teaching physical education.

"Mae Iddins was just a pioneer of women's athletics," Barger said. "She led Carson-Newman through the era where women would play club sports. They would have 'play days' where the women would play four games in one day to fill the schedule. You have athletes in our hall of fame before the sport received any scholarships because of opportunities created by Iddins."

Bobby Baker, class of 1963 and a 1986 inductee was the football program's first All-American, being named in 1962 for his work at running back and place kicker. He is the only football player and one of three C-N athletes to have their number retired, No. 28.

Arnold Mellinger, class of 1957 and a member of the second hall of fame class, has his No. 30 hanging in the rafters of Holt Fieldhouse. He was an all-conference basketball performer and a four-year starter who ranks sixth in school history with 1,826 total points.

Chris Jones, class of 1962 and a 1988 inductee, was Carson-Newman's first ever All-American in any sport and is one of four 2,000-point scorers in the basketball program. Jones is the only Eagle to ever be drafted in the National Basketball Association being selected in the ninth round by the Cincinnati Royals in 1962, eight rounds after the Royals picked 1980 National Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Jerry Lucas.

Bobby Wilson coached the 1965 NAIA National Championship baseball team, his first of 23 years at the helm compiling a 490-260-1 record. The 1994 inductee's No. 38 is the only baseball jersey that is retired.

Tommy Jones, class of 1970 and a 1998 inductee, was an All-American in football and baseball. He is the only C-N athlete to be drafted in two professional leagues doing so by the Baltimore Colts and by the Boston Red Sox, in the sixth round. Jones chose baseball.

Ben Booker, class of 1943 and a member of the 2011 hall of fame class, lettered in basketball and football. He was a four-year starter as the quarterback and defensive back on the football team. Booker was a research chemist on the Manhattan Project for the atomic bomb.

Varsity teams[edit]

List of teams[edit]


The college's athletic facilities include Roy Harmon Field at Burke-Tarr Stadium, the Ken Sparks Athletic Complex, McCown Soccer Field, the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex, six tennis courts, a softball complex, Holt Fieldhouse, and Butler-Blanc Gymnasium. Head football coach Ken Sparks who is a graduate of the school and has been coaching the team since 1980 ranks fourth in most wins among active NCAA coaches.[1]

Individual teams[edit]


In 2007, the C-N baseball team won the South Atlantic Conference Tournament after defeating Tusculum College, who had won more than 20 games in a row, twice in one day. The team traveled to Tampa, Florida, to compete in the NCAA Division II Regional Tournament. The baseball team returned to Tampa for the NCAA Regional Tournament in 2008 after receiving an at-large bid and finished third, again eliminating Tusculum College.


The football program has won five national championships. In 2009 the C-N football team won the NCAA Division II South Regional Championship in Florence, Alabama to advance to the Final Four.


  1. ^ "Player Bio:Ken Sparks" – Retrieved January 18, 2008

External links[edit]