The Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) is a college athletic conference made up entirely of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and affiliated with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Member institutions are located in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
|Gulf Coast Athletic Conference|
|Members||5 (8 in 2022)|
|Region||Southeastern United States|
|Commissioner||Kiki Baker-Barnes (Interim)|
The GCAC was established in 1981, with the following charter institutions: Belhaven University, Dillard University, Louisiana College (now Louisiana Christian University), Spring Hill College, Tougaloo College, William Carey University, and Xavier University of Louisiana. The first sports were men and women's basketball and men's tennis, with other sports soon following.
The University of Mobile was admitted in October 1985, Southern University at New Orleans was granted admission in May 1986, Loyola University was admitted in April 1995, and Louisiana State University in Shreveport became a member in April 2000. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina forced Dillard and Xavier (Louisiana) to cancel all athletic competition for the 2005–06 season and Loyola and Southern–New Orleans were able only to compete partially. All schools returned to competition in 2006–07, although in most cases with a reduced number of sports.
Louisiana College left the GCAC to join the American Southwest Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III in 2000. Belhaven also left in 2000, only to re-join in 2002; while Talladega College, which joined in 1999, left in 2002. In 2010, Belhaven, Loyola–New Orleans, Spring Hill, Mobile, and William Carey left the GCAC to join the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC). In 2010 LSU–Shreveport left the conference to join the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC). Edward Waters College and Fisk University joined to replace the departed schools in 2010. Philander Smith College also joined the GCAC in 2011. Talladega College re-joined the conference starting in the 2011–12 academic year. Talladega had been a member of the GCAC from 1999–2000 to 2001–02.
In 2019, Steve Martin resigned from the conference after 5 years to become commissioner of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges 
In 2019, Southern University at New Orleans suspended its sports program.
On September 14, 2020, it was also announced that Xavier (La.) would leave the GCAC for the RRAC and on December 18, Talladega was accepted by the SSAC as a new member. Both departures became effective after the 2020–21 season concluded, coinciding with Fisk's return to the GCAC as published on March 16, 2021. On July 19, it was reported that Edward Waters would leave the GCAC to join NCAA Division II for the first time in its history and re-join the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, effective the 2021–22 season.
In October 2021, Southern at New Orleans began to offer sports again after adding a student fee to fund them. On January 20, 2022, the GCAC extended its membership to Oakwood University and Wiley College, the conference's first Texas member, in addition to the returning Southern at New Orleans. Oakwood and Wiley are expected to join the conference later in July.
- 1981 - The Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) was founded. Charter members included Belhaven College (now Belhaven University), Dillard University, Louisiana College (now Louisiana Christian University), Spring Hill College, Tougaloo College, William Carey College (William Carey University) and Xavier University of Louisiana, effective beginning the 1981-82 academic year.
- 1985 - Mobile College (now the University of Mobile) joined the GCAC, effective the 1985-86 academic year.
- 1986 - Southern University at New Orleans joined the GCAC, effective the 1986-87 academic year.
- 1995 - Loyola University (now Loyola University New Orleans) joined the GCAC, effective the 1995-96 academic year.
- 1999 - Talladega College joined the GCAC, effective the 1999-2000 academic year.
- 2000 - Two institutions left the GCAC to join their respective new home primary conferences: Belhaven to become an NAIA Independent, and Louisiana College to join the Division III ranks of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the American Southwest Conference, both effective after the 1999-2000 academic year.
- 2000 - Louisiana State University at Shreveport (a.k.a. Louisiana State–Shreveport) joined the GCAC, effective the 2000-01 academic year.
- 2002 - Talladega left the GCAC to become an NAIA Independent, effective after the 2001-02 academic year.
- 2002 - Belhaven re-joined the GCAC, effective the 2002-03 academic year.
- 2005 - Dillard and Xavier (La.) cancelled all athletic competition while Loyola (La.) and Southern–New Orleans competed in partial competition due to aftermath of Hurricane Katrina during the 2005-06 academic year.
- 2010 - Two institutions left the GCAC to join their respective new home primary conferences: Loyola (La.), Mobile, Spring Hill and William Carey (with Belhaven for a second time) to join the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC), and Louisiana State–Shreveport to join the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC), all effective after the 2009-10 academic year.
- 2010 - Edward Waters College (now Edward Waters University) and Fisk University joined the GCAC, effective the 2010-11 academic year.
- 2011 - Philander Smith College joined the GCAC (with Talladega re-joining), effective the 2011-12 academic year.
- 2014 - Fisk left the GCAC to become an NAIA Independent, effective after the 2013-14 academic year.
- 2015 - Voorhees left the GCAC to become an NAIA Independent, effective after the 2014-15 academic year.
- 2018 - Rust College joined the GCAC, effective the 2018-19 academic year.
- 2019 - Southern–New Orleans left the GCAC due to suspending its athletic program until further notice, effective after the 2018-19 academic year.
- 2021 - Three institutions left the GCAC to join their respective new home primary conferences: Talladega for a second time to join the SSAC, Xavier (La.) to join the RRAC, and Edward Waters to join the NCAA Division II ranks and re-joining the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), all effective after the 2020-21 academic year; although Edward Waters would remain in the GCAC to compete in conference tournaments for all sponsored sports during the provisional transition until the 2021-22 academic year.
- 2021 - Fisk re-joined the GCAC, effective the 2021-22 academic year.
The GCAC currently has five full members, all of which are private schools:
|Dillard University||New Orleans, Louisiana||1869||United Methodist &
Church of Christ
|900||Bleu Devils &
Lady Bleu Devils
|Fisk University||Nashville, Tennessee||1866||United Church of Christ||910||Bulldogs||2010–11;|
|Philander Smith College||Little Rock, Arkansas||1864||United Methodist||700||Panthers||2011–12|
|Rust College||Holly Springs, Mississippi||1886||United Methodist||900||Bearcats||2018–19|
|Tougaloo College||Tougaloo, Mississippi||1869||Church of Christ||900||Bulldogs||1981–82|
- Fisk left the GCAC after the 2013–14 school year; before re-joining, effective in the 2021–22 school year.
The GCAC will have two new full members, both will be private schools:
|Oakwood University||Huntsville, Alabama||1896||Seventh-day Adventist||1,400||Ambassadors||2022–23||N/A (USCAA)|
|Wiley College||Marshall, Texas||1873||United Methodist)||1,250||Wildcats||Red River (RRAC)|
The GCAC had 12 former full members, all but two were private schools:
- Formerly known as Belhaven College until 2010.
- Currently known as Edward Waters University since 2021.
- Edward Waters would remain in the GCAC to compete in conference tournaments for all sponsored sports during the provisional transition until the 2021-22 academic year.
- Currently known as Louisiana Christian University since November 2021.
- The LSU–Shreveport men's and women's basketball teams joined the GCAC three years after becoming a full member for other sports (2003–04).
- Southern–New Orleans (SUNO) suspended its athletic program after the 2018–19 school year.
- Southern–New Orleans (SUNO) will re-join the GCAC starting July 2022.
Full member (non-football) Associate member (sport)
|Track & Field Outdoor|
- "Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Directory 1981–1982" (PDF). p. 2.
- "SSAC To Expand And Restructure Conference In 2010-11". TheChattanoogan.com. September 29, 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2009.
- "Talladega College join the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference". Talladega College Tornadoes. January 9, 2011. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
- "Great 8: GCAC Welcomes Rust College As Newest Member". Victory Sports Network. April 17, 2018. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
- "GCAC's Steve Martin named commissioner of Mississippi Junior College system". Crescent City Sports. March 11, 2019. Retrieved August 24, 2021.
- "SUNO to suspend athletic programs months after it was placed on probation over financial problems". nola.com. December 19, 2019. Retrieved August 24, 2021.
- "Xavier University Of Louisiana To Become RRAC's 13th Member Institution In 2021-22". Victory Sports Network. September 14, 2020. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
- "Talladega College to join NAIA's Southern States Conference in 2021-22". Talladega College Tornadoes. December 18, 2020. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
- "GCAC To Welcome Fisk University Back To Conference In Fall 2021". Gulf Coast Athletic Conference. March 16, 2021. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
- "Edward Waters University Returns as SIAC Member Institution". Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. July 19, 2021.
- Canicosa, JC (October 22, 2021). "At a cost to their students, SUNO's athletics program will return next year". Louisiana Illuminator. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
- "GCAC Extends Membership To Oakwood University, Wiley College, Southern University at New Orleans". January 20, 2022. Retrieved February 2, 2022.