WATCH NEWS CONFERENCE
– At a Tuesday news conference, the Atlantic Sun announced that Mercer University will host the 2010 General Shale Brick Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championship and the 2011 Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championship at the University Center.
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 while 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 Bill 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 UNF and Kennesaw State gain eligibility after completing its 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 3200-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 his increased by more than 50 percent since the arrival of new head coaches Bob Hoffman and Janell Jones,
The event will continue its Wednesday-Saturday schedule. The 2010 Championship will run from March 3-6 and the 2011 Championship will start on March 2. The Wednesdays will feature the No. 1/No. 8 and No. 2/No. 7 quarterfinal contests while the No. 3/No. 6 and No. 4/No. 5 seeds will play on Thursday. The four semifinal matches tip on Friday with two title games on Saturday.
The Atlantic Sun Conference is an 11-member league committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun stands for achievement with integrity in both the academic and athletic arenas, with a focus on the balance between the two for our student-athletes. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.