Mercer 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 season at the University Center. The deal, announced in October, will extend the Tournament’s stay in Macon by two years. In addition to hosting the 2010 A-Sun Championships, Mercer was already slated to host this year’s 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,” Atlantic Sun Commissioner Ted 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.”
Atlantic Sun Commission Ted Gumbart and Mercer President William D. Underwood shake hands following the announcement the A-Sun basketball tournaments would stay at Mercer for another two years
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 sell-out 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 (Mercer 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 President William D. Underwood told the crowd of 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 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.