Southland Conference adds Men’s & Women’s Golf Affiliate Members
FRISCO, Texas – The Southland Conference has added multiple affiliate members in men’s and women’s golf effective for the 2021-22 academic year, the league announced Thursday. Joining the Southland in multi-year golf agreements are Augusta (Ga.) University (men’s and women’s teams), Delaware State University (women’s team), and Francis Marion (S.C.) University (men’s team).
“We are very pleased to welcome our new affiliate golf members to the Southland,” league Commissioner Tom Burnett said. “We look forward to a beneficial partnership with these institutions, providing outstanding championship experiences and NCAA access for the student-athletes of these programs.”
Delaware State has recently been a Division I independent in women’s golf, while Division II members Augusta and Francis Marion sponsor golf at the Division I level. Augusta won back-to-back NCAA Division I men’s national championships in 2010 and 2011, and AU’s Broc Everett won the 2018 NCAA individual men’s national championship. Former Jaguar Patrick Reed, a nine-team winner on the PGA Tour, was the 2018 Master’s champion. Francis Marion won the NCAA Division II men’s national championship in 2003. Delaware State’s Baipor Khunsri won the individual title at the 2021 PGA Works Collegiate Women’s Championship, an event where current Southland member Texas A&M-Corpus Christi won.
“Augusta University is both excited and honored in being granted affiliated membership in the Southland Conference in both Men’s and Women’s Golf,” Director of Athletics Clint Bryant stated. “We have a rich history in golf and look forward to competing against fellow member institutions in the Southland. I know that both our coaches and student-athletes look forward to the opportunity.”
“Delaware State is excited and honored to have its women’s golf team join the highly-respected Southland Conference as an affiliate member,” said Alecia Shields-Gadson, DSU Interim Director of Athletics. “The Southland Conference has a tremendous academics and athletics tradition, and features outstanding Division I women’s golf. After competing as an independent since our program began in 2014, it’s great that our surging women’s golf team will now have the opportunity to swing for conference championships and honors, along with national tournament bids.”
“I couldn’t be more excited to have our team join the outstanding Southland Conference as an affiliate member,” said Delaware State Head Women’s Golf Coach Rick McCall. “The benefits of conference affiliation are numerous, including the opportunity to compete for league and national championships, along with individual and team awards. It will also aid our program in the areas of recruiting and scheduling. I’m grateful to Delaware State’s administration and the Southland Conference for this exciting move.”
“This is a unique and positive opportunity for our golf program,” said Francis Marion director of athletics Murray Hartzler. “We are grateful for the offer from what we consider a premier Division I conference that encompasses now four southern states. This will afford our players a chance to contend for a conference championship as well as individual conference accolades.”
“I am extremely excited about this announcement,” added FMU head coach Mark Gaynor. “What a great opportunity for our program and for the young men that will represent Francis Marion over the next several years. Having previously coached at Texas-Pan American, I am familiar with some of the schools in the Southland and I look forward to developing competitive rivalries on the golf course.”
The lineup for Southland Conference men’s golf in 2021-22 will include the two new affiliates, Augusta and Francis Marion, along with Houston Baptist, Incarnate Word, New Orleans, Nicholls, and Southeastern Louisiana. McNeese’s program will be paused for the 2021-22 academic year. The 2022 Southland Men’s Tournament will be held April 25-27, at Stonebridge Country Club (Dye Course) in McKinney, Texas, and the event winner will earn the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship.
The women’s golf lineup in 2021-22, in addition to Augusta and Delaware State, will include Houston Baptist, Incarnate Word and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The 2022 Southland Women’s Tournament will be held April 18-20, at a location to be determined. The Women’s Tournament winner will also earn the Southland’s automatic berth into the NCAA Division I Women’s Championship.
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