Athletics at Mercer
Mercer University is an NCAA Division I institution and competes in the Southern Conference. Mercer first fielded an athletic team in January 1892 when its football team played the University of Georgia in Athens. It was the first college football game played in the state and one of the first in the Southeast. Mercer, in the fall of that year, would defeat Georgia Tech in its first football game ever.
The mission of the Mercer University Athletic Department is to develop well-rounded student-athletes academically, athletically and socially. The program is committed to integrity, sportsmanship and equal opportunity for all students and staff.
Mercer Athletic Teams
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Mercer athletes are true “student-athletes” with emphasis placed equally on performance in the classrooms as well as on the playing fields or courts.
- In its first year in the Southern Conference, Mercer topped the SoCon in every major category for the league’s academic awards, boasting 263 athletes on the Honor Roll and posting a league-high 23 student-athletes with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
- The Commissioner’s Medal, given to athletes with a GPA of 3.5 or higher throughout the year, went to 128 Mercer students.
- Men’s golf, women’s golf and sand volleyball led Mercer with 100 percent of their athletes placing on the Honor Roll. The indoor volleyball team saw 88 percent of its athletes named to the roll, while women’s soccer saw 86 percent of its roster named. Overall, 12 of Mercer’s 18 teams had at least 70 percent of their student-athletes listed on the roll.
The Southern Conference, which begins its 96th season of intercollegiate competition in 2016, is a national leader in emphasizing the development of the student-athlete and in helping to build lifelong leaders and role models. Member schools, in addition to Mercer, include: The Citadel, East Tennessee State University, Furman, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Samford, Chattanooga, Virginia Military Institute, Western Carolina and Wofford.
The Mercer Athletic Foundation was created in 2007 as the fundraising arm for Mercer University Athletics. Members of the Foundation have raised funds that have been used to hire a full-time strength and conditioning coach, to enhance recruiting budgets, to provide additional scholarships and to increase salaries to help attract and retain outstanding coaches.
- Over the past five years, the Mercer Athletic Foundation (MAF) has had three seven-figure commitments.
- Over the past five years, MAF has had 18 six-figure commitments.
- MAF membership has increased 240 percent over the past 5 years.
- MAF has seen a 550% increase in annual giving over the past three years.
- Naming gifts for major facilities include: Five Star Stadium, Hawkins Arena, OrthoGeorgia Park, Betts Family Press Box and Drake Field House.
- The MAF funded purchases for ESPN3 equipment to allow Mercer games to be shown to a national audience.
- The MAF has purchased championship rings for 13 teams over the past five years.
- The University Center at Mercer is the heart of Mercer athletics and student life. Known to Mercerians as the UC, it is one of the premier playing arenas and fitness facilities in the conference. The UC provides a welcoming and accommodating space for athletes, the press and fans and is one of the most sought after event venues in Central Georgia. It houses the Mercer Athletic Department
- Bear Field, home of men’s and women’s soccer
- Claude Smith Field, home of the baseball team
- Five Star Stadium, home of football and men's and women's lacrosse
- Hawkins Arena, home of men's and women's basketball teams and volleyball
- Leroy Peddy Tennis Center, home of men’s and women’s tennis
- Sand Volleyball Complex, home of sand volleyball
- Sikes Field, home of the softball team
Hall of Fame
The Mercer Athletic Hall of Fame now consists of 167 members. These men and women made invaluable contributions to the University either participating as a student-athlete, coach or some other athletic-related capacity. View the members of this prestigious group.
Several exquisite cases display the history of Mercer Athletics in the foyer of the UC's main entrance, just outside the arena. In addition to cases depicting historic moments in Mercer sports history, others are dedicated to recognizing each of the Athletic Hall of Fame members.