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).
With just under 5,000 students enrolled, Tulsa clocks in as the smallest school in C-USA and the smallest school in America with FBS football. But they won’t be in the league for much longer–next year, they’re headed to The American along with ECU and Tulane (Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF are making the jump in a few days).
Sport-by-sport year in review:
Football (11-3, 7-1)
Home Field: H.A. Chapman Stadium
The football team posted a 7-0 mark at home en route to a C-USA title and a berth in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, where they topped Iowa State. Senior DE Jared St. John, who started as a walk-on, added to a great story by ending the year on the Ted Hendricks Award watch list (for top DE); Bill Blankenship was named C-USA Coach of the Year and five players picked up first-team honors.
Men’s Basketball (17-16, 8-8)
Home Court: Reynolds Center
Ironic that this is being written on NBA Draft night, because in 1988, the L.A. Clippers selected Danny Manning with the first overall pick in the 1988 draft. Twenty-five years later, he’s preparing to enter his second season as the coach of the Golden Hurricane basketball team. Tulsa fell in the first round of the CBI to Wright State this past season.
Women’s Basketball (17-17, 8-8)
Home Court: Reynolds Center
The women also finished .500 in conference play, but parlayed a six seed into an exciting run through the C-USA tournament in front of their hometown fans, topping UCF to win the championship and the league’s auto bid to the NCAAs. In the first round, they were topped by top-seeded Stanford after being tied at 24 at the half.
Tulsa does not field a baseball team.
Softball (42-16-1, 19-5)
Home Field: Collins Family Softball Complex
Tulsa will be a formidable foe for the Niners and all of C-USA as they have established themselves as a national power. Despite a semifinal loss to Houston in the C-USA tournament (hosted by the Golden Hurricane), they are an at-large selection to the NCAAs, where they were swept in regional action. They’ve won at least 40 games four seasons in a row.
Men’s Soccer (14-6-1, 5-2-1)
Home Field: Hurricane Soccer and Track Stadium
Another NCAA tournament team, the men’s soccer squad gained the league’s automatic bid with a 5-0 thrashing of SMU in the C-USA championship game. An 11th seed, they topped South Florida 1-0 before falling to San Diego 2-1 in the Sweet Sixteen.
Volleyball (26-10, 14-2) breezed through C-USA and advanced to the NCAA tournament, where they were swept by Florida in the opening round…Women’s soccer (12-6-4, 6-3-2) saw a strong season end in the C-USA championship game against UCF. They posted nine shutouts throughout the year…Men’s golf finished in 6th at the C-USA Championships. They earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Regionals (their 23rd tournament appearance in 25 years), where they tied for 7th…Men’s tennis fell in the C-USA championship match to Memphis, but picked up an at-large bid to NCAAs. As a team, they advanced past Michigan State before falling to Baylor, but nationally-ranked player Japie De Klerk ended up moving all the way to the NCAA semifinals. Women’s tennis also fell in the conference championship (to Rice) and gained an at-large bid of their own to the Dance, where they were one-and-done against UNLV. Samantha Vickers was named C-USA player of the year for the women as both teams finished ranked in the top 30 nationally…In track and field, the men placed third while the women were tenth; Katherine Camp (800m), John Teeters (100m dash), Chase Sammons (discus) and Erin Huddleston (steeplechase) were among the athletes that advanced to NCAA regional action….Cross country saw great success as well as the men won the C-USA championship meet while the women took 2nd; they followed up with a 3rd (men) and 5th (women) place showing in the regionals. The men then went on to take 7th in the NCAA Championships.