Furman Paladins

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Furman Paladins
UniversityFurman University
ConferenceSouthern Conference
NCAADivision I
Athletic directorMike Buddie
LocationGreenville, South Carolina
Varsity teams20
Football stadiumPaladin Stadium
Basketball arenaTimmons Arena
Baseball stadiumLatham Baseball Stadium
Soccer stadiumEugene E. Stone III Stadium
Other arenasAlley Gymnasium (volleyball)
ColorsRoyal Purple and White[1]
SoCon's logo in Furman's colors

The Furman Paladins are the varsity athletic teams representing Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, in intercollegiate athletics.

Furman competes in NCAA Division I athletics and is one of the smallest NCAA Division I schools in the nation. The university sponsors twenty teams including football, men and women's lacrosse, basketball, cross country, golf, sailing, soccer, swimming and diving, and tennis; women's-only equestrian, sand volleyball, softball, track and field, and volleyball; and men's-only baseball. The Paladins are currently members of the Southern Conference.[2] The university also fields 16 club sports and many intramural teams.

Furman is the only liberal arts college to be ranked in Sports Illustrated Top 100 America's Best Sports Colleges and has 32 former student-athletes competing at the professional level- the most of any Southern Conference member school.[3]

In 2018, Furman placed in the top 75 best colleges in the NACDA Directors' Cup Division I Final Standings, being the only liberal arts college in the US and only member of the Southern Conference to do so[4].


A member of the Southern Conference, Furman sponsors teams in ten men's and ten women's NCAA sanctioned sports:[5]

Men's Intercollegiate Sports Team Article Head Coach Women's Intercollegiate Sports Team Article Head Coach
Baseball Brett Harker Basketball Paladins women's basketball Jackie Carson
Basketball Paladins men's basketball Bob Richey Cross Country Robert Gary
Cross Country Robert Gary Golf Paladins Golf Jeff Hull
Football Paladins football Clay Hendrix Lacrosse [v 1] Rachel Shuck Whitten
Golf Paladins Golf Todd Satterfield Soccer Andrew Burr
Lacrosse Richie Meade Softball Wally King
Soccer Doug Allison Tennis Adam Herendeen
Tennis Kelly Jones Track & Field (Indoor & Outdoor) Robert Gary
Track & Field (Indoor & Outdoor) Robert Gary Volleyball Michelle Young
  1. ^ Women's lacrosse competes as an associate member of the Atlantic Sun Conference.


Furman Paladins Football

In 1988 Furman won the NCAA I-AA National Football Championship. Furman also appeared in the 1985 and 2001 NCAA I-AA National Football Championship game, but lost (to Georgia Southern and Montana, respectively). Furman, Colgate, Lehigh, Fordham, Richmond and Villanova remain the only private universities that have appeared in the I-AA Football Championship game, and Furman was the first private school to win it, with Richmond becoming the second 20 years later. Over the past few years, Furman's football team has been consistently ranked in the top 3 spots in the NCAA I-AA polls, and has climbed to no. 1 in the nation in the Sports Network polls. The Paladins have also claimed 12 Southern Conference football titles, more than any school in league history. Furman has only won one national championship and that was in football.


The men's basketball team is currently led by head coach Bob Richey and play their home games at the Timmons Arena. In 2018, the Paladins entered the College Basketball AP Poll for the first time in program history, ranking #23 in the nation in the 2018–19 NCAA Division I men's basketball rankings on December 10th.


Furman has had several successful golf teams, especially in women's golf. Few collegiate woman golf programs have produced more outstanding professionals than Furman, which boasts 11 former Lady Paladins on the LPGA tour, including two Hall of Fame inductees (Betsy King and Beth Daniel). Furman has claimed 13 Southern Conference Women's Golf Championships. PGA Tour players Brad Faxon, Stuart Cook, and Bruce Fleisher played for the Paladins.

Women's golf[edit]

Few collegiate woman golf programs have produced more professionals than Furman, which has 11 former Lady Paladins on the LPGA Tour, including two World Golf Hall of Fame inductees (Betsy King and Beth Daniel). Furman has claimed 16 Southern Conference championships: 1994–2002, 2004–05, 2008–09, 2015-2017.[6] They also won the AIAW national championship in 1976 (pre-NCAA championship). In recent years, Furman's women's golf has been consistently ranked in the top 10 in the nation by Golfweek[7]

Men's golf[edit]

The men's golf team has won 13 Southern Conference championships: 1970, 1973, 1975–1977, 1984–86, 1988, 1993, 1997, 2004, 2010. PGA Tour players Brad Faxon and Bruce Fleisher played for the Paladins. The program nearly faced extinction in 2014 until a group of alumni led by Faxon helped keep the program going.[8]


Coached by Doug Allison, the men's soccer team has been ranked as high as no. 3 in the nation and has produced a share of professional players.[9] Former star Clint Dempsey, who now plays club soccer for Seattle Sounders FC in Major League Soccer, is the #1 all-time leading goal scorer for the US team, including goals scored at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.[10] Ricardo Clark, a member of the United States Men's National Soccer Team and Houston Dynamo also played soccer for Furman. Current MLS players Shea Salinas of the San Jose Earthquakes, Chris Klute of the Colorado Rapids, Jonathan Leathers of the Vancouver Whitecaps, and Walker Zimmerman of FC Dallas also played for the Paladins.


Furman men's tennis coach Paul Scarpa is the all-time winningest coach in American college tennis history, with a record spanning over 830 wins.[11][12] A Florida State alumnus, he is a member of the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame and USTA Southern Section Hall of Fame, inventor of clay-court line Tenex, and has coached 108 All-Southern Conference players in his 46-year career. Notably, one of the founders of Yik Yak, Tyler Droll, was a product of Furman Tennis.


Furman Men's Lacrosse Club team was a member of the Southeast Lacrosse Conference in the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association. They added NCAA Division 1 Lacrosse in 2014 and played in the Atlantic Sun Conference for the 2014 season.[13] Under a cooperative agreement, for the 2015 season, men's lacrosse is sponsored by the Southern Conference and women's by the Atlantic Sun.


The Furman Paladin baseball team is led by new head coach and former Paladins pitching coach Brett Harker. The team hosts its games at Latham Baseball Stadium on Furman's campus, but numerous home games are held at Flour Field in downtown Greenville. In 2005, "Ronnie Ballgame" led the Paladins to their first ever Southern Conference championship. The Paladins had a 29 win season in 2012, led by pitcher 2012 Freshman All-American Lewis 'Elliott' Warford. Freshman shortstop Matt Towarnicky and elite-eight catcher Andrew MacClatchie are two of the top recruits in the nation. 2016 figures to be a tough season for the Paladins after losing the best player in school history, William "BigWillie" Wolff. William made a name for himself by pitching that one good game 3 years ago when he struck out a few hitters. They will also miss the former best closer in the SoCon, Matthew Solter, who has since moved on to pitch professionally, even touching 94MPH in recent outings. Dan Scott returns for another year in the booth as the legendary "Voice of the Paladins." Nolan Mullen and Paul "Big Time" Barnhill and William Greenfield enter the Junior seasons of their illustrious careers.

Cross country and track and field[edit]

Furman hosted the NCAA Southeast Regional Cross Country championships for over a decade, and hosted the NCAA Cross Country national championship in 1998 and 2001. It was announced on April 18, 2012 that former Ohio State head coach, Robert Gary, would take over coaching the Cross Country/Track and Field programs. In the recent years, both Furman's men's and woman's track and field teams have been ranked in the top 15th in the nation in NCAA DI Cross Country National Poll[14][15]. In 2018, Furman finished 2nd in the 5,000 meters NCAA Women's Outdoor Track and Field Championships event.


Started in 1998, Furman's Rugby Club team won the East Coast Collegiate Division III Championship three years in a row from 2003 to 2005.[16] Furman built a rugby stadium John S. Roberts Field on campus in 2008, with strong financial backing from alumni and friends.[17] In 2011, Furman joined Division II. Furman has made a commitment to its rugby program, promising $100,000 annually in scholarships and financial aid to rugby players.[17] Furman rugby is led by head coach John Roberts.


The team nickname, the Paladins, was first used by a Greenville, South Carolina, sportswriter in the 1930s. For many years the name “Paladins” just referred to Furman’s basketball team. Until 1963 the school’s baseball teams were known as the "Hornets" and the football teams as the "Hurricanes". On September 15 of that year, the student body voted to make "Paladins" the official nickname of all of the university's intercollegiate athletic teams.


  1. ^ "Graphic Design Guide". Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  2. ^ "Southern Conference Member Institutions - SoConSports.com—Official Web Site of The Southern Conference". Soconsports.com. Retrieved 2015-07-18.
  3. ^ "America's Best Sports Colleges". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  4. ^ "2018 Learfield Directors' Cup Division I Final Standings" (PDF). Nacda.
  5. ^ "Furman Paladins". Furman University. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Southern Conference Women's Golf Record Book" (PDF). Soconsports.com. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  7. ^ "College Rankings Archive". Golfweek.
  8. ^ Beth Ann Nichols. "GOLFWEEK - Furman men's golf reinstated, college golf: Furman Paladins reinstate men's golf program after Brad Faxon, other step up". Golfweek.com. Retrieved 2015-10-15.
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ "Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) - FIFA.com". FIFA.com. Retrieved 2015-10-15.
  11. ^ Garber, Greg. "Scarpa's record difficult to comprehend". ESPN.
  12. ^ "Scarpa to be inducted into SoCon Hall of Fame". Furman News.
  13. ^ "UPDATE: Furman University (S.C.) Announces Men's, Women's DI Lacrosse". InsideLacrosse.com. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  14. ^ "NCAA DI Men's Cross Country National Rankings". NCAA.
  15. ^ "NCAA DI Women's Cross Country National Rankings". NCAA.
  16. ^ [2] Archived July 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ a b [3] Archived January 28, 2013, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]