In 2008, the Central Arkansas Bears men’s basketball team won the Gulf South Conference championship. The team finished the regular season with a 13-5 conference record, which earned them a share of the conference title. In the conference tournament, held from March 5-9, 2008, the Bears won three straight games to claim the championship. In the championship game, they defeated ...
One of the most famous players to come out of the Central Arkansas Bears program is Scottie Pippen. Pippen played for the Bears from 1983-1987, and was a two-time All-American and three-time All-Gulf South Conference selection during his college career. After leaving Central Arkansas, Pippen went on to have a highly successful career in the NBA, where he won six ...
In 2013, the Central Arkansas Bears women’s soccer team won the Southland Conference championship. The team finished the regular season with a 9-1-1 conference record, which earned them the conference title and a spot in the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Tournament. In the first round of the NCAA tournament, the Bears faced off against the University of Oklahoma Sooners, ...
In 2017, the Central Arkansas Bears football team won the Southland Conference championship. The team finished the regular season with an 8-1 conference record, which earned them the conference title and a spot in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs. In the first round of the playoffs, the Bears faced off against the University of New Hampshire ...
In 2019, the Central Arkansas Bears men’s soccer team won the Sun Belt Conference championship. The team finished the regular season with a 7-3-2 conference record, which earned them the #2 seed in the conference tournament. In the championship game, held on November 16, 2019, the Bears faced off against the Georgia State Panthers. After a scoreless regulation and overtime, ...
History of the Bears
The Central Arkansas Bears have a proud history of success in NCAA sports, dating back to their first season as members of the Southland Conference in 2006. The Bears have won multiple conference championships and made several appearances in the NCAA Tournament. In addition to their on-field success, they’ve produced some outstanding athletes who played professionally.
In basketball, the Bears are one of only two teams from Arkansas that have ever reached an NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance (the other being Arkansas State). They achieved this feat twice: once during their first year as a member of Division I (2006-07) and again during an incredible run through March Madness three years later (2009-10). During those two seasons combined, they racked up five conference tournament titles and four regular season crowns – both school records for any sport at UCA!
One player who stands out from these squads is guard LaQuentin Miles. After his senior campaign, he was named SLC Player Of The Year and earned All-American honors before going undrafted by NBA teams but signing with overseas clubs instead. Other former players who found professional opportunities include forward Jarvis Garner, guard Robert Crawford, center Josh Hagins, forward Thatch Unruh, point guard Jordan Howard, shooting guards Marcus Johnson Jr., Terrell Kennedy III & Jeff Lowery, along with power forwards DeAndre Jones & Hayden Koval.
Overall it’s been quite a successful ride for Central Arkansas since joining Division I athletics over fifteen years ago! With continued strong recruiting classes coming into Conway each year, plus a great coaching staff leading them onto victory every weekend - there's no telling how far this program can go next. Stay tuned, Bear Nation!
College Sports Established
University of Central Arkansas
2021 - Present / NCAA Division I
2021 - Present / ASUN Conference
Bears - The Central Arkansas Bears are among the most successful teams in NCAA Division I athletics. The team is known for its strong performance on the field and its unique nickname. But where did this nickname come from?
The origin story behind the Central Arkansas Bears dates back to 1915 when four students at what was then called Arkadelphia Normal School decided they wanted a mascot that would represent their school spirit and embody their school’s commitment to excellence. After much debate, they settled on a bear cub taken from nearby Ouachita National Forest. They named it “Bruin” after legendary football coach Hugo Bezdek who had just been hired by Arkadelphia Normal School that same year.
Over time, Bruin became an essential part of campus life, with his presence being felt during sporting events and other activities around campus. Eventually, he even received his official uniform! In 1925, Bruin officially became the university's mascot when it changed its name to the University of Central Arkansas (UCA). Since then, UCA has embraced Bruin as their beloved symbol - so much so that in 2007 UCA adopted "Central Arkansas Bears" as its official athletic moniker!
Today you can find fans wearing all sorts of apparel featuring Bruin's face or logo and “Go Bears!" chants ringing out across all sports venues throughout central Arkansas – showing how far this unique nickname came over nearly 100 years ago!
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