Countdown to Conference USA: Get To Know MTSU


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 | FIU | Louisiana Tech | Marshall

Middle Tennessee State University
Nickname: Blue Raiders
Location: Murfreesboro, TN–pop. 111,327
Enrollment: 24,192 (spring 2012)

MTSU, making the jump from the Sun Belt along with FAU, FIU and North Texas (tomorrow’s subject), is in their third conference since 2000.  Up till then, they were in the OVC before shipping off to the Sun Belt before finding their soon-to-be home in C-USA.

Sport-by-sport year in review
Football (8-4, 6-2)
Home field: Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium
The Blue Raiders depart the SBC with a tied-for-2nd place finish in the conference–a significant leap from 2011, when they finished 2-10 (1-7 in conference).  Former ECU offensive coordinator Rick Stockstill has led his squad to back-to-back bowl appearances in 2009 and 2010.

Men’s Basketball (28-6, 19-1)
Home court: Murphy Center
MTSU has been a strong mid-major program of late, improving upon an NIT quarterfinal appearance in 2011-12 to record a Sun Belt semifinal appearance and an NCAA at-large bid in 2012-13, losing to Saint Mary’s in the First Four in Dayton.  They’ll enter C-USA as a strong favorite to win the conference and get back to the Big Dance.

Women’s Basketball (25-8, 17-3)
Home court: Murphy Center
The women’s basketball team left the Sun Belt with a bang as well, topping UALR to win the conference tournament and advance to the NCAAs for the fifth straight year, losing to eventual national runner-up Louisville in the first round.  They’ll also be toward the top in their new conference.

Baseball (28-28, 11-19)
Home field: Reese Smith Field
After making the conference tournament in 2012, the baseball team couldn’t carry on the momentum and missed postseason play this year.

Softball (7-47, 1-21)
Home field: MT Softball Complex
2013 was a year to forget for softball.  They started the season 0-13 and could never get their stride going.

Men’s Soccer (N/A)
MTSU does not have a men’s soccer team.

Other sports
Women’s soccer (14-5-1, 8-1-1) were the team to beat in the Sun Belt, but lost a heartbreaker in overtime to FIU in the conference semifinals…Volleyball (10-23, 7-8), eliminated in the first round of the SBC tournament, will host the C-USA championships this November…In men’s golf, Lucas Armstrong was 3rd in the conference championships.  MTSU as a team was 4th…Men’s tennis, who ended the season ranked in the top 50, fell in the SBC finals to Georgia State; women’s tennis lost in the conference semis…Track and field sent four individual athletes to the NCAA Championships, including Emmanuel Tugumisirize and Eluid Rutto (who finished the year a first-team All-American).  Its 4×400 relay team also qualified.  Several of its athletes won individual titles at the indoor meets over the winter…Cross country saw its men and women finish third and fourth (respectively) at the SBC championships; Robinson Simatei was a 3rd-place overall finisher while Julia Kitevski was a strong 6th overall for the women.

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Tags: Conference USA MTSU Blue Raiders