Gulf Coast Athletic Conference

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
GCAC
Gulf Coast Athletic Conference logo
Established1981
AssociationNAIA
Members5 (8 in 2022)
Sports fielded
  • 7
    • men's: 3
    • women's: 4
RegionSoutheastern United States
CommissionerKiki Baker-Barnes (Interim)
Websitegcaconf.com
Locations
Gulf Coast Athletic Conference locations

HistoryEdit

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.[1]

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).[2] 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.[3]

On April 17, 2018, it was announced that Rust College had joined the GCAC in the 2018–19 season.[4]

In 2019, Steve Martin resigned from the conference after 5 years to become commissioner of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges [5]

In 2019, Southern University at New Orleans suspended its sports program.[6]

On September 14, 2020, it was also announced that Xavier (La.) would leave the GCAC for the RRAC[7] and on December 18, Talladega was accepted by the SSAC as a new member.[8] Both departures became effective after the 2020–21 season concluded, coinciding with Fisk's return to the GCAC as published on March 16, 2021.[9] 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.[10]

In October 2021, Southern at New Orleans began to offer sports again after adding a student fee to fund them.[11] 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.[12]

Chronological timelineEdit

  • 1985 - Mobile College (now the University of Mobile) joined the GCAC, effective the 1985-86 academic year.
  • 1995 - Loyola University (now Loyola University New Orleans) joined the GCAC, effective the 1995-96 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.
  • 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.
  • 2022 - Southern–New Orleans announced that it will re-instate its athletics program and re-join the GCAC, along with new members Oakwood University and Wiley College, effective beginning the 2022-23 academic year.

Member schoolsEdit

Current membersEdit

The GCAC currently has five full members, all of which are private schools:

Institution Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment Nickname Joined
Dillard University New Orleans, Louisiana 1869 United Methodist &
Church of Christ
900 Bleu Devils &
Lady Bleu Devils
1981–82
Fisk University Nashville, Tennessee 1866 United Church of Christ 910 Bulldogs 2010–11;
2021–22[a]
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
Notes
  1. ^ Fisk left the GCAC after the 2013–14 school year; before re-joining, effective in the 2021–22 school year.

Future membersEdit

The GCAC will have two new full members, both will be private schools:

Institution Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment Nickname Joining Current
conference
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)

Former membersEdit

The GCAC had 12 former full members, all but two were private schools:

Institution Location Founded Afiliation Nickname Enrollment Joined Left Subsequent
conference(s)
Current
conference
Belhaven University[a] Jackson, Mississippi 1883 Evangelical
Presbyterian
3,245 Blazers 1981–82;
2002–03
1999–2000;
2009–10
NAIA Independent
(2000–01 to 2001–02)
Southern States (SSAC)
(2010–11 to 2014–15)
American Southwest
(NCAA D-III)
(2015–16 to present)
(CCS starting in 2022–23)
Edward Waters College[b] Jacksonville, Florida 1866 AME Church 966 Tigers 2010–11 2020–21[c] Southern (SIAC) (NCAA D-II)
(2021–22 to present)
Louisiana College[d] Pineville, Louisiana 1906 Southern
Baptist
1,200 Wildcats 1981–82 1999–2000 American Southwest
(NCAA D-III)
(2000–01 to 2020–21)
Red River (RRAC)
(2021–22 to present)
Louisiana State University at Shreveport Shreveport, Louisiana 1967 Public 4,200 Pilots 2000–01[e] 2009–10 Red River (RRAC)
(2010–11 to present)
Loyola University New Orleans New Orleans, Louisiana 1904 Catholic
(Jesuit)
4,858 Wolf Pack 1995–96 2009–10 Southern States (SSAC)
(2010–11 to present)
University of Mobile Mobile, Alabama 1961 Baptist 1,577 Rams 1985–86 2009–10 Southern States (SSAC)
(2010–11 to present)
Southern University at New Orleans New Orleans, Louisiana 1956 Public 2,715 Knights &
Lady Knights
1986–87 2018–19 N/A[f]
Gulf Coast (GCAC)[g]
Spring Hill College Mobile, Alabama 1830 Catholic
(Jesuit)
1,439 Badgers 1981–82 2009–10 Southern States (SSAC)
(2010–11 to 2013–14)
Southern (SIAC) (NCAA D-II)
(2014–15 to present)
Talladega College Talladega, Alabama 1867 United Church
of Christ
600 Tornadoes 1999–2000;
2011–12
2001–02;
2020–21
USCAA/NAIA Independent
(2002–03 to 2010–11)
Southern States (SSAC)
(2021–22 to present)
Voorhees College Denmark, South Carolina 1897 Episcopal 600 Tigers 2013–14 2014–15 Continental
(2015–16 to present)
William Carey University Hattiesburg, Mississippi 1906 Baptist 3,250 Crusaders 1981–82 2009–10 Southern States (SSAC)
(2010–11 to present)
Xavier University of Louisiana New Orleans, Louisiana 1925 Catholic 3,200 Gold Rush &
Gold Nuggets
1981–82 2020–21 Red River (RRAC)
(2021–22 to present)
Notes
  1. ^ Formerly known as Belhaven College until 2010.
  2. ^ Currently known as Edward Waters University since 2021.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Currently known as Louisiana Christian University since November 2021.
  5. ^ 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).
  6. ^ Southern–New Orleans (SUNO) suspended its athletic program after the 2018–19 school year.
  7. ^ Southern–New Orleans (SUNO) will re-join the GCAC starting July 2022.

Membership timelineEdit

Wiley CollegeOakwood UniversityRust CollegeVoorhees CollegePhilander Smith CollegeFisk UniversityEdward Waters UniversityLouisiana State University ShreveportTalladega CollegeLoyola University New OrleansSouthern University at New OrleansUniversity of MobileXavier University of LouisianaWilliam Carey UniversityTougaloo CollegeSpring Hill CollegeLouisiana Christian UniversityDillard UniversityBelhaven University

 Full member (non-football)   Associate member (sport) 

Conference sportsEdit

 
Old logo
Conference sports
Sport Men's Women's
Basketball  Y  Y
Cross Country  Y  Y
Track & Field Outdoor  Y  Y
Volleyball  Y

Conference championsEdit

BaseballEdit

Year Regular season champion Tournament champion
2015 Edward Waters College Talladega College
2014 Talladega College Talladega College
2013 N/A N/A
2012 N/A N/A
2011 N/A N/A
2010 Belhaven College Louisiana State University Shreveport
2009 William Carey University Belhaven College
2008 University of Mobile cancelled
2007 Belhaven College Louisiana State University Shreveport
2006 Belhaven College Louisiana State University Shreveport
2005 Louisiana State University Shreveport William Carey University
2004 William Carey University Belhaven College
2003 William Carey University none
2002 Loyola University New Orleans none
2001 Spring Hill College none
2000 Spring Hill College none
1999 University of Mobile none
1998 University of Mobile none
1997 Spring Hill College none
1996 William Carey University none
1995 William Carey University none
1994 Belhaven College none
1993 William Carey University none
1992 William Carey University none
1991 William Carey University none
1990 William Carey University none
1989 William Carey University none
1988 William Carey University none
1987 Louisiana College none
1986 William Carey University none
1985 Spring Hill College none
1984 William Carey University none
1983 William Carey University
Spring Hill College
none
1982 William Carey University none

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Directory 1981–1982" (PDF). p. 2.
  2. ^ "SSAC To Expand And Restructure Conference In 2010-11". TheChattanoogan.com. September 29, 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2009.
  3. ^ "Talladega College join the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference". Talladega College Tornadoes. January 9, 2011. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  4. ^ "Great 8: GCAC Welcomes Rust College As Newest Member". Victory Sports Network. April 17, 2018. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  5. ^ "GCAC's Steve Martin named commissioner of Mississippi Junior College system". Crescent City Sports. March 11, 2019. Retrieved August 24, 2021.
  6. ^ "SUNO to suspend athletic programs months after it was placed on probation over financial problems". nola.com. December 19, 2019. Retrieved August 24, 2021.
  7. ^ "Xavier University Of Louisiana To Become RRAC's 13th Member Institution In 2021-22". Victory Sports Network. September 14, 2020. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  8. ^ "Talladega College to join NAIA's Southern States Conference in 2021-22". Talladega College Tornadoes. December 18, 2020. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  9. ^ "GCAC To Welcome Fisk University Back To Conference In Fall 2021". Gulf Coast Athletic Conference. March 16, 2021. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  10. ^ "Edward Waters University Returns as SIAC Member Institution". Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. July 19, 2021.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ "GCAC Extends Membership To Oakwood University, Wiley College, Southern University at New Orleans". January 20, 2022. Retrieved February 2, 2022.

External linksEdit