MACON, Ga. – Mercer University has again been selected as the host site for the General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Conference Basketball Championships – for both men and women – for the 2012 and 2013 seasons at the University Center, it was announced today by Commissioner Ted Gumbart at a press conference on the MU campus. In addition to hosting the 2010 A-Sun Championships, Mercer is also the host for this year’s (2011) tournament.
“As the excitement of a new basketball season builds, we are pleased to announce that Mercer University and the University Center will host our premier event, the General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Basketball Championships, through 2013,” Gumbart said. “Mercer and the middle Georgia community hosted a tremendous championship event for the A-Sun teams and fans last March, and we look forward to working with them over the next three championships to build on that positive momentum.”
In 2010, the Bears’ men’s and women’s teams both advanced to the tournament. The Mercer men reached the championship game, narrowly losing in the title tilt before a sellout crowd at the University Center. The Bears’ women’s team has a run of 15-consecutive seasons of qualifying for the A-Sun tournament, while the men’s squad has never missed the tournament in 26 seasons (MU is the lone charter member remaining in the A-Sun).
Opening for basketball in 2004, the $40 million University Center is a 3,200-seat facility. In addition to the Basketball Championships, the facility hosted the 2007 and 2008 Volleyball Championships. Last year’s men’s title game between Mercer and ETSU featured one of only four title games in the country played in front of a sold out crowd on a campus site.
“On behalf of the University, I’d like to thank the Atlantic Sun Conference and Ted Gumbart, the commissioner, for this expression of confidence in the University’s ability to be a successful host for the conference championships in men’s and women’s basketball,” Mercer University president William D. Underwood told the gathering of around 125 people. “Without question, we would not have been selected for 2012 and 2013 without the success of the tournament here in Macon last spring.”
In addition to being a showcase for quality basketball, the A-Sun Championships generated a tremendous amount of civic and campus interest and support in 2010. The response is a facet of the event that Mercer University director of athletics Jim Cole sees as growing even more in 2011 and into the newly-awarded 2012 and 2013 events.
“Mercer University is certainly honored to once again be selected as the host site for the A-Sun Basketball Championships,” Cole said. “I believe last year’s tournament showed the commitment Mercer University – and the community as a whole – has toward making this event a truly first-class championship experience in all aspects. Our goal is to do even more each year to enhance the event for the student-athletes, coaches and spectators, alike.”
Mercer becomes the first A-Sun school to host four consecutive Men’s or Women’s Basketball Championships. On the women’s side, the Dothan Civic Center served as the venue from 2004 through 2007.
## GO BEARS ##
About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,200 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at three regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu.