Charleston Southern Buccaneers football

The Charleston Southern Buccaneers football program is the intercollegiate American football team for Charleston Southern University located in the U.S. state of South Carolina. The team competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and are members of the Big South Conference. Charleston Southern's first football team was fielded in 1991. The team plays its home games at the 4,000 seat Buccaneer Field in North Charleston, South Carolina and are currently coached by Autry Denson.[2]

Charleston Southern Buccaneers
2019 Charleston Southern Buccaneers football team
Charleston Southern Wordmark.png
First season1991
Athletic directorJeff Barber
Head coachAutry Denson
1st season, 6–6 (.500)
StadiumBuccaneer Field
(Capacity: 4,500)
Field surfaceArtificial Turf
LocationCharleston, South Carolina
NCAA divisionDivision I FCS
ConferenceBig South Conference
All-time record123–176 (.411)
Conference titles3
ColorsBlue and Gold[1]
MascotBucky the Buccaneer


The Charleston Southern football team began as a club football team in 1989 before moving to NCAA Division 3 status in 1991, which is a non-scholarship division. After NCAA rule changes required all sports to be in the same division, the Buccaneers moved from Division 3 to Division 1 in 1993, literally overnight, as the other campus programs were Division 1. This caused some challenges for the new program, as they faced off with more established and better funded programs. In 1996, the Bucs went 1–10 with a lone win vs West Virginia State. Wins were scarce, and in 1997, Head Coach David Dowd hired defensive coordinator Todd Knight from Gardner-Webb University. The two coaches oversaw a slow improvement that began with a large recruiting class in 1997, and move to 34 scholarships being offered. That team would struggle to a 1–9 record, with a lone win vs Tusculum College. The opening game was a 30–7 loss to top 10 ranked East Tennessee State, followed by a heart-breaking loss at then No. 22 ranked South Carolina State. In that game, the Buccaneers led 12–6 with less than 1:30 to play, with SC State driving inside the 40 yard line. On a 4th and short, CSU hit the SC State QB to cause a fumble which the Bucs recovered and began to run with, only to then fumble the ball back, and SC State would score the game winning TD on the ensuing drive. The 1997 team struggled to recover from that loss. A tragic loss was part of that season, as freshman running back Kevin Keyes was murdered near his hometown of Goose Creek, SC.

Jay Mills era (2003–2012)Edit

Jay Mills came to Charleston Southern from Harvard University, and had spent time coaching at several other places, including Boise State, Notre Dame and Minnesota-Morris. His system shifted from CSU's traditional power based, pro style offense to a spread offense. Several starters were dismissed from the team for various situations, and most of the coaching staff was changed. His first season was seen by many as a disaster, as the Bucs stumbled to a 1–11 record, with the lone win being over West Virginia State. The season included blowout losses to The Citadel, Gardner Webb, VMI, James Madison and Coastal Carolina. However, Coach Mills used the 2003 season to break-in a freshman quarterback named Colin Drafts. While this was to be an extremely difficult season of transition, it would provide the groundwork for a remarkable turnaround, and the emergence of one of the most prolific offensive players in CSU and Big South Conference history. In 2004, CSU saw a game cancelled vs The Citadel due to a looming hurricane, and the Bucs were able to post a 5–5 record, the first non-losing season in CSU history. Colin Drafts began to emerge as a star quarterback, as did running back Travis Mays and linebacker Zach Mitchell. Wide receiver Eddie Gadson would also emerge from walk-on to All Big South Conference in one season. The 12 months following the end of the 2004 season would be one that no fan or team member would have predicted.

Jamey Chadwell era (2013–2016Edit

Head Coach Jamey Chadwell took over the program after the retirement of Jay Mills following the 2012 season. The program has reached new heights with most wins in a season (10) in 2013, a win over national FCS power Appalachian State, back to back conference championships in 2015 and 2016, 4 straight wins over The Citadel, and two home wins over Coastal Carolina. In 2016, the buccaneers took on 5 time reigning FCS champion North Dakota State into over time and suffered a tough loss (24-17). While the loss was hard on the team, it showed the strides made by this once small football program into what it is today. In 2017, Jamey Chadwell accepted a position at Coastal Carolina and Mark Tucker took the helm. CSU has been consistently ranked in the FCS top 25 since 2013.

Mark Tucker era (2017–2018)Edit

Former quarterbacks coach Mark Tucker took over the football program in January, 2017 following the departure of Head Coach Jamey Chadwell. Following several coaching changes and a strong recruiting class, Coach Tucker hoped to have continued success with The Buccaneers. CSU would follow up the 2016 campaign with a 6-5 record in 2017. Following a 5-6 season in 2018, Mark Tucker resigned as the Head Coach on December 7th, 2018. He compiled an 11-11 record.

Autry Denson era (2019–present)Edit

Notre Dame running backs coach Autry Denson was named head coach in January 2019.[3]

Notable former playersEdit

  • Maurice Price
  • Erik Austell
  • Will Hunt
  • Darius Hammond
  • James Allen
  • Johnny Robinson
  • Jon Belk


Conference championshipsEdit

  • 2005: Big South Conference champion
  • 2015: Big South Conference champion
  • 2016: Big South Conference champion

FCS Playoffs resultsEdit

The Buccaneers have appeared in the FCS Playoffs two times. Their record is 1–2.

Year Round Opponent Result
2015 Second Round
The Citadel
Jacksonville State
W 14–6
L 38–58
2016 First Round Wofford L 14–15


Active rivalryEdit

The Citadel BulldogsEdit

These two schools first met on the football field in 2002 and it has become a rivalry recently under CSU head Coach Jamey Chadwell. The Buccaneers won four in a row under Chadwell including two wins in 2015, as CSU took down The Citadel in a second round NCAA Playoff game at Buccaneer Field.

Citadel leads the series 6-5.

  • 2018 - CSU @ Citadel - L, 14-43
  • 2015 – Citadel @ CSU – W, 14–6 (NCAA Division 1 Playoff Game [2nd Round])
  • 2015 – CSU @ Citadel – W, 33–20
  • 2014 – Citadel @ CSU – W, 20–18
  • 2013 – CSU @ Citadel – W, 32–29
  • 2012 – CSU @ Citadel – L, 49–14
  • 2007 – CSU @ Citadel – L, 35–14
  • 2006 – CSU @ Citadel – W, 38–35
  • 2005 – CSU @ Citadel – L, 28–14
  • 2003 – CSU @ Citadel – L, 64–10
  • 2002 – CSU @ Citadel – L, 53–19 (First Meeting)

Coastal Carolina ChanticleersEdit

These two schools first met on the football field in 2003 and it has been a rivalry since Charleston Southern defeated Coastal Carolina 34–27 in 2005 to win a share of the Big South Championship that Coastal had already clinched. CSU got the first shutout of the series with their 24–0 win in 2008. In 2015, Coastal Carolina, then ranked Number 1 nationally, was defeated by the 19th ranked Buccaneers 33–25, giving Charleston Southern the sole lead in the Big South Conference.

Coastal Carolina leads the series 8–6.

  • 2016 – CSU @ Coastal – W, 59–58 (2 OT)
  • 2015 – Coastal @ CSU – W, 33–25
  • 2014 – CSU @ Coastal – L, 43–22
  • 2013 – Coastal @ CSU – W, 31–26
  • 2012 – CSU @ Coastal – L, 41–20
  • 2011 – Coastal @ CSU – L, 45–38
  • 2010 – CSU @ Coastal – L, 70–3[4]
  • 2009 – Coastal @ CSU – W, 30–23
  • 2008 – CSU @ Coastal – W, 24–0
  • 2007 – Coastal @ CSU – L, 41–2
  • 2006 – CSU @ Coastal – L, 31–17
  • 2005 – Coastal @ CSU – W, 34–27 (2 OT)
  • 2004 – CSU @ Coastal – L, 56–28
  • 2003 – Coastal @ CSU – L, 48–14 (First Meeting)

Charleston Southern vs In-State NCAA Division I schoolsEdit

School Record Percentage Streak First Meeting Last Meeting
Clemson Tigers 0–0
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 6–8 .429 Won 2 2003 2016
Furman Paladins 0–0
Presbyterian Blue Hose 10–14 .417 Won 2 1993 2016
South Carolina Gamecocks 0–0
South Carolina State Bulldogs 0–7 .000 Lost 7 1991 1999
The Citadel Bulldogs 5–5 .500 Won 4 2002 2015
Wofford Terriers 0–14 .000 Lost 14 1993 2016
Charleston Southern 21 – In-State NCAA Division I Schools 48

Charleston Southern vs. FBS teamsEdit

Year FBS Opponent Result Opponent's Conference Opponent's Head Coach Charleston Southern's Head Coach
2017 Indiana Hoosiers L, 27–0 Big 10 Tom Allen Mark Tucker
2017 Mississippi State Bulldogs L, 49–0 SEC Dan Mullen Mark Tucker
2016 Florida State Seminoles L, 52–8 ACC Jimbo Fisher Jamey Chadwell
2015 Alabama Crimson Tide L, 56–6 SEC Nick Saban Jamey Chadwell
2015 Troy Trojans L, 44–16 Sun Belt Neal Brown Jamey Chadwell
2014 Georgia Bulldogs L, 55–9 SEC Mark Richt Jamey Chadwell
2014 Vanderbilt Commodores L, 21–20 SEC Derek Mason Jamey Chadwell
2013 Colorado Buffaloes L, 43–10 Pac-12 Mike MacIntyre Jamey Chadwell
2012 Illinois Fighting Illini L, 44–0 Big 10 Tim Beckman Jay Mills
2011 UCF Knights L, 62–0 C-USA George O'Leary Jay Mills
2011 Florida State Seminoles L, 62–10 ACC Jimbo Fisher Jay Mills
2010 Kentucky Wildcats L, 49–21 SEC Joker Phillips Jay Mills
2010 Hawaii Warriors L, 66–7 WAC Greg McMackin Jay Mills
2009 South Florida Bulls L, 59–0 Big East Jim Leavitt Jay Mills
2009 Florida Gators L, 62–3 SEC Urban Meyer Jay Mills
2008 Miami (OH) Redhawks L, 38–27 MAC Don Treadwell Jay Mills
2008 Miami Hurricanes L, 52–7 ACC Randy Shannon Jay Mills
2007 Hawaii Warriors L, 66–10 WAC June Jones Jay Mills
2003 South Florida Bulls L, 55–7 C-USA Jim Leavitt Jay Mills
2002 South Florida Bulls L, 56–6 C-USA Jim Leavitt David Dowd
Charleston Southern 0 – FBS Schools 20


  1. ^ CSU Branding & Style Manual (PDF). August 1, 2015. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  2. ^ "Autry Denson". Charleston Southern University Athletics.
  3. ^ Vowles, Joshua (January 14, 2019). "Notre Dame Football: Autry Denson is officially announced as the new head coach for Charleston Southern". One Foot Down. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 17, 2012. Retrieved June 11, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit