LaGrange College Set to Join USA South
(FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.) - The USA South Athletic Conference is pleased to announce that LaGrange College has accepted an invitation to join the Conference as a full member. The LaGrange, Georgia institution will begin USA South play during the 2012-13 academic year. LaGrange is currently an affiliate member of the USA South, participating in women's lacrosse only.
“It is an exciting day as the USA South Athletic Conference welcomes LaGrange College as our newest member," said Pamela Fox, President of Mary Baldwin and Chair, USA South Presidents Council. "As the oldest private college in the state of Georgia, LaGrange College has a long and proud academic and athletic tradition as a liberal arts institution that makes it a good and comparable partner in our Conference. Their membership in the Conference will benefit all of us who value a well-rounded Division III collegiate experience for our student-athletes. We look forward to the future and years of competition and collaboration with our administrators, coaches and student-athletes."
“We proudly welcome LaGrange College to our membership," stated Rita Wiggs, USA South Commissioner. "They exemplify the pillars of the Division III and USA South philosophy with their strong academic profile and commitment to athletics as an integral part of the student-athlete’s comprehensive collegiate experience. LaGrange College will enhance and strengthen the competitiveness in our regular season and championships with their broad-based programs. We look forward to the future with LaGrange College as a full partner in athletic competition, academic pursuits and student-athlete development.”
Currently, the Panthers, competing as full members of the Great South Athletic Conference, offer eight men's sports (baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming and tennis) and eight women's sports (basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis and volleyball). The USA South currently sponsors each of LaGrange's sports with the exception of men's and women's swimming.
“We will be joining a prestigious conference with a track record of success in national tournaments,” shared Dr. Dan Alexander, President of LaGrange College. “Our student-athletes now will have more opportunities to achieve excellence through post-season play, especially our men’s teams, who will be able to compete for automatic bids to their respective NCAA Division III national playoffs.”
“The conference move will allow us to establish and maintain long-term rivalries as well as give our team sports two opportunities to receive a bid to the NCAA III national playoffs – an at-large bid and a conference bid,” stated Jennifer Claybrook, new LaGrange Director of Athletics. “This will also provide more of our student-athletes with the opportunity to compete for a number of all-conference awards, from player of the week to all-conference to academic all-conference. Conference honors will make our players more competitive for national recognition.”
LaGrange is the second institution in as many weeks to announce its intentions to join the USA South. Piedmont College accepted an invitation to become a full-member of the Conference on April 11, 2011.
The oldest private college in Georgia, LaGrange has a rich history spanning 175 years. Primarily an arts and sciences institution, LaGrange is one of the most affordable private colleges in the Southeast. U.S. News & World Report, year after year, ranks LaGrange College as one of the South's Top-10 comprehensive colleges and among that category's "best values". LaGrange has retained Methodist ties throughout its history. Today the College is part of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church.