History of Southern Wesleyan University Athletics

Southern Wesleyan University currently fields 19 varsity sports and two junior varsity teams. Women's golf was added for the 2012-13 season with men's and women's tennis as well as men's indoor/outdoor track & field and women's indoor/outdoor track & field beginning competition in the 2013-14 season. Women's lacrosse and women's triathlon are new additions for the 2016-17 school year.

Varsity Sports

Men's Sports Women's Sports
Baseball Basketball
Basketball Cross Country
Cross Country Golf
Golf Lacrosse
Soccer Soccer
Tennis Softball
Indoor Track & Field Tennis
Outdoor Track & Field Indoor Track & Field
  Outdoor Track & Field


Southern Wesleyan University is a member of Conference Carolinas and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II. The Warriors are also members of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) and the South Region. 

SWU was previously members of the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Student-athletes are given the opportunity to excel athletically, academically, and spiritually.  Southern Wesleyan annually recognizes numerous all-conference, all-region and academic award winners.  The Warriors have won four NCCAA National Championships in team competitions and have seven individual national champions.

Dr. Keith Connor was named Central Wesleyan College’s first Director of Athletics.

Men’s basketball was the first sport that Central Wesleyan College offered in the department of athletics. Central Wesleyan’s first collegiate contest came against Toccoa Falls, Ga. on December 1, 1970. Central Wesleyan won the contest, 83-74. Due to an error in the shipment of the team’s uniforms, Central Wesleyan wore Seneca High school’s uniforms during the contest.

The men's soccer program was added for the Fall 1973 season. Central Wesleyan played their first game at The Citadel inside their baseball stadium. Central Wesleyan University joined the National Christian College Athletic Association.

Central Wesleyan College joined the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Central Wesleyan’s first contest as an NAIA member was against Lander College.

Central Wesleyan College added the first women’s sports program in school history with the addition of women's volleyball. The women's volleyball team played its first contest against Western Carolina University.  The men's basketball advanced to the finals of the NCCAA Men's Basketball National Tournament. 

Central Wesleyan College added a softball program as it's second women's intercollegiate athletic team.

Central Wesleyan’s men's soccer team advanced to the NCCAA National Championship game just six years after the program was added.

The softball team made a historic run in the 1982 NAIA Softball tournament as they qualified as the No. 32 seed in the tournament.

In 1985, Central Wesleyan College added women's basketball as an intercollegiate sport. In their first contest, Central Wesleyan defeated Gardner Webb in a rout, 85-62.

The baseball program was added in 1986, increasing the number of athletic teams to six. The first Baseball coach for Central Wesleyan College was Dr. Walt Sinnamon. (Now Dean of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences)

In 1988, the men’s golf program becomes Central Wesleyan’s eighth sports program. Coach Paul Wood was the first coach for the team.

On October 28, 1994, Central Wesleyan College changed its name to Southern Wesleyan University. The men’s and women’s cross country programs were added in the same year.

Southern Wesleyan University added the first sports program since changing the name of the institution, as they added women’s soccer as an intercollegiate sport.

Through the direction of the Warrior Club, The Southern Wesleyan University Athletics Hall of Fame was established in 2005. It was designed to recognize and honor former student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and other individuals who have made significant contributions to the University and its athletic program. The inaugural class was inducted in October 2005. The induction ceremony highlighted the centennial homecoming on the campus of Southern Wesleyan. The inaugural class included: Dr. C. Keith Connor, Robert Cheek, Alvin Holland, George Barahona, Paul Agu, Innocent Nwankwo, Paul Johnson, Charles Wimphrie, John Perry, Raymond Lawson, Deborah Holcombe, Uzzie Cannon, Alicia Pratt, Will Barnes, Dr. P.B. Wood, 1970-71 Men’s Basketball Team. 

Coached by Chris Williams (now Director of Athletics) the women’s basketball team won the NCCAA National Championship. The Warriors defeated Central Christian 77-73 on March 10, 2007 to become Southern Wesleyan University’s first national championship team. A few months later, on May 19, the baseball team won the NCCAA National Championship, defeating Faulkner University 9-6. Coach Mike Gillespie led the Warriors to the program’s first national title and the second for Southern Wesleyan University.

The 2012 fall sports season was one of the most successful in Southern Wesleyan’s department of athletics history. Southern Wesleyan announced the addition of the women’s golf program and the program began play during the fall semester. The women’s volleyball program team earned a bid to the NCCAA National Tournament. Both the men’s and women’s cross country programs earned 16th place finishes at NCCAA National Meet. The women’s cross country program followed their impressive NCCAA finish by placing 28th at the NAIA National Meet. The men’s golf team finished 4th at the NCCAA National Tournament. Women’s Golfer Cynthia Smith compteted at the NCCAA National Tournament in the first year of the program. Southern Wesleyan University’s Board of Trustees also approved the addition of men’s and women’s track & field and men’s and women’s tennis. Those teams will begin competition in the 2013-2014 academic year.

Southern Wesleyan University started 2013 with several monumental announcements. Southern Wesleyan University made its formal application to the NCAA for Division II membership. As a part of the membership process, Southern Wesleyan was extended a conference membership invitation from Conference Carolinas. On January 23, Southern Wesleyan University unveiled its new logo, marketing and branding initiatives to the community in a press conference.

Southern Wesleyan University is approved for full NCAA Division II membership starting in the 2016-17 school year. 

Titles (Conference, District, Regional, National) and Appearances (NAIA/NCCAA)

NCCAA World Series Appearance 1989
NCCAA National Champions 2007

Men’s Basketball 
NCCAA District Champions 1976
NCCAA Tournament Appearance 1976
NAIA District 6 Champions 1979
NAIA Tournament Appearance 1979
NAIA District Champions 1984
NAIA Tournament Appearance 1984
NCCAA Region Champions 1999
NCCAA Tournament Appearance 1999
NAIA Tournament Appearance 2006

Women’s Basketball 
Palmetto State Conference Champions 1992      
NCCAA Region Champions 2007
NCCAA National Champions 2007
NCCAA Region Champions 2014
NCCAA National Tournament Appearance 2014

Men’s Cross Country
NCCAA Region Champions 2012
NCCAA National Meet Appearance 2012
NCCAA National Meet Appearance 2013
NCCAA National Meet Appearance 2014
NCCAA National Meet Appearance 2015
NCCAA National Meet Appearance 2016  

Women’s Cross Country
NCCAA Region Champions 2011
NCCAA National Meet Appearance 2011
NCCAA Region Champions 2012
NCCAA National Meet Appearance 2012
NAIA National Meet Appearance 2012
NCCAA National Meet Appearance 2013
NCCAA National Meet Appearance 2014
NCCAA National Meet Appearance 2015
NCCAA National Meet Appearance 2016 

Men’s Golf
NAIA Tournament Appearance 1996
NAIA Tournament Appearance 2004
NCCAA Region Champions 2010
NCCAA Tournament Appearance 1993-2005, 2007-2012   
NCCAA Region Champions 2012
NCCAA Region Champions 2013
Zach Moore NCCAA National Champion 2013

Men’s Soccer
NCCAA District Champions 1979
NCCAA Region Champions 1979
NCCAA Tournament Appearance 1979
Georgia Alabama Carolina Conference Champions 1998   
Georgia Alabama Carolina Conference Champions 2003
NAIA Tournament Appearance 2003
NCCAA Region Champions 2003
NCCAA Tournament Appearance 2003
NCCAA Region Champions 2013
NCCAA National Champions 2013
NCCAA National Champions 2015 

Women’s Soccer
NCCAA Region Champions 2008
NCCAA Tournament Appearance 2008

NAIA District 6 Champions 1982
NAIA Tournament Appearance 1982
NAIA District 6 Champions 1994
NAIA Tournament Appearance 1994
NCCAA Tournament Appearance 1994
NCCAA Tournament Appearance 2016 

Women's Tennis
NCCAA Tournament Appearance 2016 

NCCAA Region Champions 1985
NCCAA Tournament Appearance 1985
Georgia Alabama Carolina Conference Champions 1997    
NCCAA Region Champions 2008
NCCAA Tournament Appearance 2008
NCCAA Tournament Appearance 2010
NCCAA Tournament Appearance 2011
NCCAA Tournament Appearance 2012
NCCAA Tournament Appearance 2014
NCCAA Tournament Appearance 2015
NCCAA Tournament Appearance 2016