Countdown to Conference USA: Get To Know FIU

July 1 will be an important day for the Charlotte 49ers as it will be their first back in Conference USA. So running until the 30th, we’re taking a look at all the C-USA teams going in alphabetical order–from ECU to UTSA. We’ll also profile the affiliate members (Kentucky, New Mexico and South Carolina–men’s soccer; Colorado College–women’s soccer).

Get caught up: ECU | FAU

Florida International University
Nickname: Panthers
Location:  Miami, FL
Enrollment: 50,394; 61% Hispanic

Florida International is in sunny south Florida. They are coming to Conference USA from the Sun Belt Conference with fellow south Floridian, Florida Atlantic.  FIU is Miami’s only public research University, and they offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs.

Sport by sport year in review

Football (3-9, 2-6)
Home Field:  Alfonso Field at FIU Stadium
FIU’s final year in the Sun Belt was disappointing, but they did beat south Florida rival FAU, 34-24.  In teams Niner fans may know, FIU lost to Duke from NC, and Louisville from Charlotte’s old Sun Belt/Metro/CUSA days.  They are coached by former Illinois Head Coach Ron Turner.

Men’s Basketball (18-14, 11-9)
Home Court:  US Century Bank Arena
Despite their record, they did not qualify for the NIT.  They did have a nailbiter against March Madness darling, Florida Gulf Coast, losing 76-73.   Their old head coach was NBA Hall of Famer Isaiah Thomas.

Women’s Basketball (19-13, 12-8)
Home Court:  US Century Bank Arena
FIU lost in the first round of the WNIT to Florida, the team Charlotte later fell to in the WNIT Sweet 16.

Baseball (26-32, 13-17)
Home Field:  FIU Baseball Stadium
FIU’s star junior pitcher, Tyler Alexander, was picked in the 27th Round by the Milwaukee Brewers (812th pick.)  Alexander struck out 101 in 90+ Innings.  He had 34 K’s in his first 19 innings; 10 of those K’s came against Arkansans-Little Rock in the Sun Belt Tourney.

Softball (27-28, 10-13)
Home Field:  FIU Softball Stadium
FIU hosted three home tournaments during softball season–the Panther Invitational, the Blue/Gold Felsberg Memorial, and the FIU Classic.   Head Coach Jake Schumann will spend this summer assisting the USSSA Florida Pride of the National Pro Fastpitch league.

Men’s Soccer (8-8-2, 0-7-1)
Home Field:  FIU Soccer Stadium
The Panthers laid up a total goose egg in CUSA Soccer, not even winning one game.  You would think if you are 8-1-1 outside of the conference, you could win at least one.

Other sports:
Women’s soccer went 13-6-2, 5-5-1 in their final Sun Belt campaign.  In the spring they played Central Florida, Florida Gulf Coast, Lynn, Florida Tech, and Florida State…In men’s track and field, Marcus Ghent, the reigning Sun Belt Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year, finished third in the long jump at 7.35 meters….In women’s track and field, Kim DeKry qualified for nationals in the hammer throw at 51.65 meters at the Sun Belt Championships.  Aubrey Smith also made nationals with a triple jump of 15.21 meters at the SBC tourney…Women’s tennis finished 3-16…Women’s volleyball went 10-20, 7-8 to close out their SBC tenure…Interestingly, FIU has women’s sand volleyball.  They made it to the national semifinals playing on CBS Sports Network in the AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball Pairs Championships.



Tags: Conference USA FIU Panthers

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