Furman Paladins

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Furman Paladins
University Furman University
Conference Southern Conference
NCAA Division I
Athletic director Gary Clark
Location Greenville, SC
Varsity teams 20
Football stadium Paladin Stadium
Basketball arena Timmons Arena
Baseball stadium Latham Baseball Stadium
Soccer stadium Eugene E. Stone III Stadium
Other arenas Alley Gymnasium (volleyball)
Nickname Paladins
     Purple       Gray
Website www.furmanpaladins.com

The Furman Paladins are the varsity athletic teams representing Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina in intercollegiate athletics. The university sponsors twenty teams including men and women's 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 compete in NCAA Division I and are currently members of the Southern Conference.[1]


A member of the Southern Conference, Furman sponsors teams in ten men's and ten women's NCAA sanctioned sports:[2]


The Furman Paladin baseball team is led by coach Ron Smith. 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.[citation needed]


In 1988 Furman won the NCAA I-AA (currently Football Championship Subdivision) National Football Championship. Furman also appeared in the 1985 and 2001 NCAA I-AA National Football Championship games, but lost (to Georgia Southern and Montana, respectively). Furman is one of only six private universities that have appeared in the I-AA Football Championship game, and Furman was the first private school to win it. The Paladins have also claimed 12 Southern Conference football titles, more than any school in league history.[citation needed]


Furman has had several successful golf teams, especially in women's golf.

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 13 Southern Conference championships: 1994–2002, 2004–05, 2008–09.[3] They also won the AIAW national championship in 1976 (pre-NCAA championship).

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.[4]


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.[5] Former star Clint Dempsey, who now plays club soccer for Seattle Sounders FC in Major League Soccer, is the #2 all time leading goal scorer for the US team,[6] including goals scored at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany and the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.[7] 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.[citation needed] 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.


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.[8] Under a cooperative agreement, for the 2015 season, men's lacrosse is sponsored by the Southern Conference and women's by the Atlantic Sun.

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.


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.[9] Furman built a rugby stadium John S. Roberts Field on campus in 2008, with strong financial backing from alumni and friends.[10] 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.[10] 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.


External links[edit]