The Atlantic Sun Conference has named Mercer host of its 2010 and 2011 Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships. Conference officials made the announcement at a news conference on March 17 in the University Center Arena, where the tournaments will be held.
Atlantic Sun Commissioner Ted Gumbart announces the conference championships will be played at Mercer during a news conference in the University Center Arena on March 17.
Mercer, one of the conference’s charter members, will host for the first time in school history. The championship returns to Georgia for only the fifth time, and the first time since Georgia State hosted in 2003. The Panthers also hosted in 2001 and Georgia Southern hosted in 1985 and 1992.
“We are very excited to bring our premier event to Macon, and we look forward to Mercer University serving as host for the General Shale Brick A-Sun Basketball Championships for the next two years,” Atlantic Sun Commissioner Ted Gumbart said. “Mercer has an outstanding facility, provides a central location for A-Sun fans, and the Mercer community will do an outstanding job as hosts. On behalf of the membership, we extend our thanks to Mercer University President William D. Underwood for his sincere interest in bringing the event to the University Center and we look forward to continuing a tradition of excellence and growth by having our championships here in 2010 and 2011.”
Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena hosted the last two Championships, the first two years in which men and women held their respective championships on the same floor. The 2010 and 2011 events will follow the same format. After one season with seven teams in the field, the championship will return to eight-team brackets as the University of North Florida and Kennesaw State gain eligibility after completing their respective four-year transition periods. The ninth-place eligible team will not make the field.
“We are very pleased to be selected to host the A-Sun basketball tournament in 2010 and 2011,” said Bobby Pope, Mercer’s Director of Athletics. “The University Center and Macon’s central location within the conference makes us the ideal choice. As the only charter member remaining in the A-Sun, it is only fitting that we should host the tournament for the first time in Conference history.”
Opening for basketball in 2004, the $40 million University Center is a 3,200-seat facility. The 2010 and 2011 Basketball Championships will not be the first A-Sun Championships held in the University Center. The facility hosted the 2007 and 2008 Volleyball Championships. Over the last two seasons, Mercer’s men’s basketball team hosted non-conference opponents Alabama and Georgia Tech in front of sold-out crowds. Mercer basketball attendance has increased by more than 50 percent since the arrival of new head coaches Bob Hoffman and Janell Jones.