The Bethune–Cookman Wildcats men’s basketball team represents Bethune–Cookman University in the sport of basketball. The Wildcats compete in the NCAA Division I and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). They play their home games in Moore Gymnasium on campus in Daytona Beach, Florida. They are coached by former NBA player and Sacramento Kings coach Reggie Theus. The team has been playing ...
The Bethune–Cookman Wildcats football team represents Bethune–Cookman University in the sport of college football. The Wildcats compete in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Starting with the fall 2021 season, they compete in the East Division of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), after having been members of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) ...
The Buck Buchanan Award is given to the most outstanding defensive player in Division I FCS. In 2002, Rashean Mathis of Bethune- Cookman won the award. Mathis holds the NCAA FCS/ I-AA records for most interceptions in a season (14), most interceptions during a career (31), most yards on interception returns in a season (455), and most yards on interception ...
In 2021, Bethune-Cookman accepted an invitation to join the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). Originally, the team played in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). During this time, the only tournament the Wildcats have made is the NIT tournament. Though they now play in the NCAA Division I, they have never made a tournament appearance.
History of the Wildcats
The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats have a long and storied history in NCAA sports. Founded in 1904 by Mary McLeod Bethune, the school has produced some of the greatest athletes to compete on college fields and courts. From football to basketball, baseball to track & field, the Wildcats have been a force to be reckoned with for over 100 years.
In football alone, they’ve had several players go on to play professionally, including Super Bowl champion Ernie Sims (Detroit Lions) and Pro Bowler Joe Gilliam Jr (Pittsburgh Steelers). They also boast two Heisman Trophy finalists: quarterback Matt Johnson (1998) and running back Travis Henry (2000). The team has won seven conference titles since joining Division I-AA/FCS in 1978—the most recent being their 2017 MEAC championship win over North Carolina Central University.
In addition, they’ve earned multiple NCAA tournament appearances throughout their history, including trips as recently as 2011 for men's basketball; 2014 for women's volleyball; 2015 for softball; 2016 & 2018 baseball tournaments; 2019 outdoor track & field championships; 2020 indoor track & field championships—all of which resulted in top 10 finishes!
Over time it is clear that the Bethune–Cookman Wildcats are one of college sports' premier programs with an impressive list of accomplishments both on and off the court or playing surface — making them must-watch entertainment when looking at teams from around America competing at all levels within collegiate athletics!
College Sports Established
Daytona Beach, Florida
1980 - Present / NCAA Division I
2021 - Present / Southwestern Athletic Conference
1979 - 2020 / Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
Wildcats - The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats have a long and storied history of athletic success. As one of the most successful teams in NCAA Division I, their nickname has become synonymous with greatness. But what is the origin story behind this iconic moniker?
The name “Wildcats” was first used by founder Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune to describe her school's football team when they were established in 1923. The nickname was chosen because it embodied strength and agility – two essential qualities for any successful sports team! The original mascot for the school was an actual wildcat, which further solidified its connection to athletics at Bethune-Cookman University (BCU).
Over time, BCU's beloved Wildcats evolved into more than just a symbol on paper or a costume worn during games; they became part of campus culture and ingrained within students' mindsets about athleticism and competition. This sentiment can be seen today through various student organizations such as Wildcat Nation, which promotes spirit among all members of BCU regardless of whether they are athletes!
In conclusion, there is no denying that the Wildcats have come far since their inception over ninety years ago - from humble beginnings to becoming one of college sports' top programs nationwide - thanks largely due in part to their unforgettable name choice: "Wildcats." So next time you cheer on your favorite players donning purple & gold uniforms, remember how much pride comes with calling yourself a genuine member of #TeamBethune.
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