Savannah State Tigers and Lady Tigers

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Savannah State Tigers
University Savannah State University
Conference Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
Athletic director Sterling Steward Jr.
Location Savannah, Georgia
Varsity teams 16
Football stadium Ted A. Wright Stadium
Basketball arena Tiger Arena
Nickname Tigers and Lady Tigers
Colors Burnt Orange and Reflex Blue[1]
Savannah State University Athletics wordmark.svg

The Savannah State Tigers and Lady Tigers are the men's and women's intercollegiate athletic teams that play for Savannah State University in Savannah, Georgia.

Conference affiliation[edit]

Former SSU Athletics logo (2000-2012)

Savannah State University holds membership in the NCAA Division I (as members of the MEAC) and participates in the following sports: football, baseball, basketball (men and women), cross-country (men and women), tennis (men and women), track and field (men and women), volleyball (women only), golf (men), and softball (women).[2][3][4] On March 20, 2010, the Tigers were accepted as provisional members of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) beginning on July 1, 2010.[5] On September 8, 2011, the university was confirmed as a full member of the MEAC Conference, making the Tigers eligible to participate in all conference championships and earn the conference's automatic berth to NCAA postseason competition in all sponsored sports.[6] Before moving to Division I-AA, Savannah State was a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in the NCAA Division II (1981–2005), NCAA Division II and the Southeastern Athletic Conference in the NAIA (1929–1961).

Savannah State announced on April 17, 2017 that all of its intercollegiate athletic programs were going to be reclassified to NCAA Division II, citing that maintaining Division I status was not financially feasible.[7] Just under eight months later on December 7, the university revealed its plans to apply for re-entry to the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference by February 1, 2018.[8]

Conference championships[edit]

Season Sport Conference Notes References
1970 Basketball ball.svg Men's Basketball SIAC [9]
1979 Basketball ball.svg Men's Basketball SIAC regular season and tournament title [10][11]
1980 Basketball ball.svg Men's Basketball SIAC regular season and tournament title [10][11]
1981 Basketball ball.svg Men's Basketball SIAC regular season and tournament title [10][11]
1991 Tennis ball.svg Women's Tennis SIAC [12]
1994 Tennis ball.svg Women's Tennis SIAC [12]
1995 Baseball SIAC [13]
1996 Tennis ball.svg Women's Tennis SIAC [12]
1996 Baseball SIAC [13]
1997 Tennis ball.svg Women's Tennis SIAC [12]
1997 Baseball SIAC [13]
1998 Baseball SIAC [13]
1998 Tennis ball.svg Women's Tennis SIAC [12]
1999 Baseball SIAC [13]
2012 Basketball ball.svg Men's Basketball MEAC regular season conference champions
2012 Softball MEAC Southern Division Conference Champions
2013 Baseball MEAC Southern Division Conference Champions
Conference Tournament Champions
2015 Basketball ball.svg Women's Basketball MEAC Conference Tournament Champions

Team colors[edit]

The official school colors for Savannah State are Burnt Orange and Reflex Blue.[14] White is often used as a secondary color and for alternate jerseys.


Athletics at Savannah State University are administered by the Savannah State University Athletic Department. The department is headed by an athletic director who is responsible for the department's oversight and all matters related to the school's 16 NCAA Division I sports teams for men and women.[15] The department dedicates about $2 million per year for its sports teams and facilities.[16]

The current athletic director is Sterling Steward Jr.[17]

Current facilities[edit]

Most athletic teams have on-campus facilities for competition, including Ted A. Wright Stadium for football and track and field,[18] and Tiger Arena for basketball and women’s volleyball.

Ted A. Wright Stadium is a 8,500 seat multi purpose stadium which opened in 1969.[19]. The stadium's name is an homage to former Savannah State Football coach Theodore Wright, who coached the team from 1947-1949.[20]

Track and field renovations were made at Ted A.Wright Stadium in the mid 1990s as part of the "Olympic Legacy Package". The "Olympic Legacy Package" included a 400-meter track and competitive field areas.[21]

Tiger Arena is a 5,000-seat multi purpose arena that opened in 2000. Tiger Arena replaced Willcox-Wiley Gymnasium,[22]costing $9.6 million to construct.[23]

Traditional Rivals[edit]

The traditional rival, in all sports is in-state Fort Valley State University.[24]

Sports sponsored[edit]

Men's sports Women's sports
Baseball Basketball
Basketball Cross country
Cross country Golf
Football Softball
Golf Tennis
Track and field Track and field
† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor.


Sophomore quarterback A.J. Defillips warms up during the Savannah State vs. Old Dominion game. (Taken on November 6, 2010).

The football team is traditionally the most popular sport at Savannah State. The games are played at Ted A. Wright Stadium. Since moving to NCAA Division I - FCS in 2000, the Tigers have compiled a 17-88 record as of the 2009–2010 season.[25] Prior to moving to Division I-AA the team compiled a 97-108-4 record in NCAA Division II (1981–2000), a 15-20-0 record in NCAA Division III (1973–1980) and a 1-1-0 record as a member of the NAIA.[26][27]

Men's basketball[edit]

Savannah State competes in NCAA Division I as an independent and plays home games in Tiger Arena on the university campus.

The school gained notoriety when they finished the 2004–2005 men's basketball season a winless 0-28, the first Division I team to do so since Prairie View A&M University in 1991–1992.[28][29][30] The Tigers were the 2011-12 MEAC regular season champions and received an automatic bid into the 2012 NIT, their first ever appearance in any Division I tournament as a Division I member. The team posted a 21-10 overall mark and lead the MEAC in scoring defense, only allowing 58.9 points per game and were second in the conference in scoring margin (+5.4).[31]


Savannah State Tigers
League NCAA Division I
Location Savannah, Georgia
Nickname(s) Tigers
Mascot Tiger
Manager Carlton Hardy
Kit trousers beltonwhite.png


Kit trousers beltonwhite.png


The head coach is Carlton Hardy.[32]

Conference championships and NCAA playoffs[edit]

  • The Savannah State Tigers finished as SIAC baseball champions for five consecutive seasons (1995–1999).[13]
  • In 1999, the Tigers were the #4 seed in the NCAA Division II South Regional baseball Tournament[33]
  • In 2013, the Tigers were the co-champions of the MEAC Southern Division and won the conference baseball tournament and the conferences automatic NCAA bid.

Team awards and NCAA records[edit]

Season-by-season record[edit]

     NCAA Division I Independent        SIAC (NCAA Division II)       NCAA Division III        NAIA Southeastern

Team awards and NCAA records[edit]

Head baseball coach Carlton Hardy, 2014
  • Savannah State holds the NCAA Division II records of 46 consecutive victories in baseball and 46 consecutive victories to start of a season (2000). The team also hold the NCAA Division II records of 12.59 average runs per game in a season (2000), 58 total triples in a season (1998) and 1.18 average triples per game in a season (1998).[38]
  • Theophalus Gregory established the NCAA Division III record of 1.92 average stolen bases per game in 1974 as a member of the Savannah State baseball team.[38]
  • Gerald Smith, held the 2005 NCAA Division I top slugging percentage (.785) as a member of the Savannah State baseball team.[38]
  • Savannah State baseball player Brett Higgins (2000) holds the NCAA Division II record of 32 doubles in a season (in 49 games) with four other players and led the NCAA in RBIs (93), slugging percentage (1.010), and total bases (193) in 2000.[38]
  • Willie Melendez, former Savannah State baseball player holds the NCAA Division II record of 16 triples in a season (1998).[38]

Notable players and coaches[edit]

Some notable Savannah State baseball players and coaches include:

Name Class year Position Notability Reference(s)
Mark Eric Alvarez Pitcher Signed as a non-drafted free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2006 [39]
Brandon Jackson Outfielder 16th round selection of the 1999 MLB draft by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim [40]
Kyle McGowin Pitcher First Team All-American in 2013, 5th round selection of the 2013 MLB draft by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim [41]
Jeff Urgelles Catcher Minor League Baseball player and Major League Baseball coach for the Miami Marlins [42]

Women's basketball[edit]

Savannah State Lady Tigers basketball is a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference member. They currently play in the Division 1 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).[43]

The Lady Tigers started playing in 1928 and in 1974 joined Division II. They compiled a 339-394 record in Division II before moving on to Division I in 2002.[44] In Division I, the Lady Tigers are 148-260.[44] The Lady Tigers won 6 total SEAC Championships.[44]

The Lady Tigers will move back to Division II Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) after the 2018-19 season [45]

Women's tennis[edit]

The current coach is Don Andrews who entered his first season as head coach in 2008.[46]

Team awards and records[edit]

The Women's Tennis Team won the SIAC championship in 1991, 1994, 1996, 1997 and 1998[12]

In 2014, the Women's Tennis team set the program record for Division 1 wins[47]

The Women's tennis team started playing in 1984-85.[48] They joined the MEAC during the 2011-12 season.[48]

Women's volleyball[edit]

The current head coach is Jolanta Graham who replaced Schannon Gamble in 2012.

Savannah State's Women's volleyball team began play in 1985 before they moved to Division 1 in 2002.[49] They began MEAC play in 2011.[49]

Savannah State's Women's volleyball has not had much success in their previous 34 seasons.[49]

Women's Softball[edit]

The current head coach is Jose Gonzalez who entered his first season in 2008.[50]

In 2012, the Lady Tigers softball team completed their first .500 season and won a MEAC divsion title.[51]

Men's golf[edit]

The current coach is Art Gelow.[52]

Track and field[edit]

The current coach is Ted Whitaker who entered his first season as head coach in 1999.[53]


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  17. ^ "Sterling Steward Jr.: Director of Athletics". Staff Directory. Savannah State University. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
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  33. ^ a b "From the Onnidan Online News Room". Retrieved 2007-11-26.
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  43. ^ "Savannah State Lady Tigers Schedule - 2018-19". ESPN. ESPN. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
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  46. ^ "Savannah State University VOLLEYBALL/TENNIS Head Coach:Yocaira Basilio". Retrieved 2007-11-21.
  47. ^ "WOMEN'S TENNIS SETS DIVISION I SCHOOL RECORD". SSU Athletics. SSU Athletics. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
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  50. ^ "Savannah State University Softball Head Coach: Henry Banks". Retrieved 2007-11-21.
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  53. ^ "Savannah State University TRACK & FIELD Head Coach: Ted Whitaker". Retrieved 2007-11-21.

External links[edit]