Georgia State Panthers

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Georgia State Panthers
University Georgia State University
Conferences Sun Belt
NCAA Division I
Athletic director Cheryl Levick
Location Atlanta, GA
Varsity teams 16 (6 men's, 10 women's)
Football stadium Georgia Dome
Basketball arena GSU Sports Arena
Baseball stadium Georgia State Baseball Complex
Softball stadium Robert E. Heck Softball Complex
Soccer stadium GSU Soccer Field
Mascot Pounce
Fight song Fight Panthers
     Blue       White       Red

The Georgia State Panthers represent the NCAA Division I sports teams of Georgia State University. GSU's teams are members of the Sun Belt Conference, a conference they were a charter member of. Previously, GSU was a member of the CAA, and prior to that, the Atlantic Sun Conference (then known as the Trans America Athletic Conference, or TAAC).


Prior to Conference Affiliation

Georgia State became a fully accredited NCAA Division I athletics program in 1963, which saw the university give scholarships at the highest level of competition for college athletics. However, sports did exist at GSU prior to becoming an NCAA member; In 1956, the Panthers began a baseball team, the oldest sports played at Georgia State.1 Prior to joining the NCAA, no scholarships were given and no sports were part of any national affiliate.2 When GSU did join the NCAA, only basketball, cross country, golf, and tennis were played as NCAA sports2 (only men's teams were allowed to compete in the NCAA until 1980).3 In 1975, five women's sports also joined, playing in the New South Women's Athletic Conference, or NSWAC, a conference of the AIAW.4

Founding of the Sun Belt Conference

In 1976, the Sun Belt Conference was formed with Georgia State being one of its founding members.5 However, in 1980, the Panthers left the Sun Belt, with the most cited reason being that the conference encouraged its members to play in the largest basketball venue in town; in the case of the Panthers, that was the 16,500 seat Omni Arena, an NBA venue where the Atlanta Hawks played.6 With only a few hundred fans attending each game, this became a joke to media outlets, who purposefully tried to get pictures of the action with a lack of a crowd in the background.7 After leaving the Sun Belt, the Panthers played as independents for three years before joining the TAAC.

Before Football

In 1983, Georgia State joined the TAAC (now the Atlantic Sun Conference), joining in-state schools Mercer and Georgia Southern. It would last in this conference until 2005, watching other peers (including Florida International, Troy, Central Florida) leave to pursue FBS football. While the Panthers would stay headstrong against adding football until 2008, the school did change conferences again in 2005, joining the CAA for all sports.

Addition of Football

Once Georgia State entered the CAA, the popular question of whether the university should add football was brought up again, this time leading the university to commission a feasibility study in 2006. After gauging student and alumni interest, the administration found enough support to continue onwards with the effort, leading to the hire of former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Reeves as a consultant. This culminated in the official launch of the football program on April 17, 2008.8 Due to GSU's membership as a part of the CAA, membership into the football division of the conference was sought after, leading to the Panthers being invited to become a football participant for the 2012 season.9 Due to the addition of men's scholarships (64 for inclusion in the FCS), title IX regulations required the university to have additional women's scholarships added. This lead to the addition of sand volleyball and women's swimming and diving.10

With the addition of football, a makeover of the athletics department was done, changing the fight song, logo's, and mascot for all sports.1112 The university also decided to go back on one of its previous institutional name rules in making GSU an official logo and secondary name for the university, something that should, according to the university, never be done prior to this point.13

In February 2012, the university announced that it had commissioned a study to find the feasibility of moving up to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the highest level of collegiate football, citing that the shifts in landscape due to conference realignment offered opportunities that should be carefully considered.14 The study was conducted by Collegiate Consulting, who concluded that the university was in a good position to move up to the FBS.15 On April 9, 2012, Georgia State officially accepted an invitation to rejoin the Sun Belt Conference on July 1, 2013.16


Nickname and Mascot

The nickname "Panthers" has existed as the name for all Georgia State teams since 1963, when the university held a student vote to determine what the representing mascot should be. It wasn't until 1989 that an official mascot appeared in the form of Urbie, a crimson panther. This was later replaced in 1993 by an early of the current mascot, Pounce, a blue panther. Pounce's appearance has changed twice since his debut, most recently in 2009 when the current incarnation was presented during a basketball game against Georgia Southern.17

The first team name to represent Georgia State was the Owls, used between 1940 and 1947, used as a representation of the schools title at the time of "Georgia Evening College." Between 1947 and 1963, GSU teams went by the name "Ramblers," although no reasoning for why has been presented. The teams were also briefly referred to as the "Crimson Panthers" during the Urbie era.

Fight song

Fight Panthers

Fight, Panthers, to victory!
Our voices yell.
You'll hear us mighty and strong.
We're from the ATL, we're gonna give 'em hell!

Fight, Panthers, to victory!
Drive on for the score.
Blue - White,
Georgia State is in the fight,

G-S-U, G-S-U, G-A-S-T-A-T-E, State!

Panthers Old Logo
Current Secondary Logo

The primary athletics logo contains a picture of the newest incarnation of Pounce, the universities mascot, centered above the words Georgia State. This primary logo is interchangeable with the words GSU beneath Pounce.

The secondary logo is an italicized, capitalized GSU in white with blue outlining with a red streak beneath.

The new logos replaced the face of Pounce prior to 2009, as a highly stylized cartoon panther beneath the old Georgia State wordmark.


Although Georgia State has only played football since 2010, rivalries have been formed on the basketball court, most notably again Georgia Southern. Both schools participated in the Atlantic Sun Conference (then the TAAC) between 1983 and 1992.1819 Since the rivalry began, the two teams have played each other 46 times (after the 2013-14 season), with Southern holding the series at 32-14.20 The schools sharing of the abbreviation "GSU" has been a point of conflict between the two schools fan-bases with both universities claiming that they are, in fact, the real GSU. Georgia State lays claim to the initials as it became a university (and therefore GSU) long before Georgia Southern did (in 1990; Georgia State became a university in 1969).2122 Also, Georgia State's URL and official logo's both contain the acronym.20 Georgia Southern, however, takes right of ownership in that they have had a football team for a much longer time than Georgia State, and during that time managed to win 6 national championships (albeit at the FCS level). It should be noted, however, that Georgia Southern makes note that GSU is not an official abbreviation for the school, and generally uses GS in their own branding.23 Although the two schools are yet to play a game of football against one another, the addition of Georgia Southern to the Sun Belt Conference has fanned the rivalry onto the gridiron.24

Conference membership


  • The men's and women's basketball and volleyball teams compete on campus at the 4000 person capacity GSU Sports Arena
  • The football team competes at the state owned Georgia Dome, an off campus facility located less than a mile from the central campus. The Georgia Dome has a capacity of 71,228, but is configured for most GSU home games with a maximum capacity of 28,155. Practice fields owned by the school are located south of the main campus on Martin Luther King Drive.
  • The softball team competes at Bob Heck field, a school owned off campus facility located east of campus in Panthersville, Georgia.
  • The men's and women's soccer teams compete at the GSU Soccer Field, a school owned off campus facility located east of campus in Panthersville, Georgia.
  • The men's and women's tennis teams compete at the Sharon Lester Tennis Center at Piedmont Park, a city owned park to the north of campus in the Midtown neighborhood
  • The men's and women's golf teams compete at Eagles Landing Country Club, a 27 hole golf course in Stockbridge, Georgia.
  • The sand volleyball team competes at the 340 person capacity Sand Volleyball Complex, located behind the GSU Sports Arena

Sports overview

Sport Coach (since) Facility
Baseball Greg Frady (2004) Georgia State Baseball Complex
Basketball (M) Ron Hunter (2011) GSU Sports Arena
Basketball (W) Sharon Baldwin-Tener (2010) GSU Sports Arena
Cross Country (W) Chris England (2010)
Football Trent Miles (2013) Georgia Dome
Golf (M) Joe Inman (2009) Eagles Landing Country Club
Golf (W) Cathy Mant (2000) Eagles Landing Country Club
Soccer (M) Brett Surrency (2010) GSU Soccer Field
Soccer (W) Derek Leader (2012) GSU Soccer Field
Softball Roger Kincaid (2011) Robert E. Heck Softball Complex
Tennis (M) Joerg Barthel (2012) Sharon Lester Tennis Center
Tennis (W) Miha Lisac (2007) Sharon Lester Tennis Center
Track/Field (W) Chris England (2011)
Volleyball (W) Sally Polhamus (2014) GSU Sports Arena
Sand Volleyball Beth Van Fleet (2013) GSU Sand Volleyball Complex

Men's basketball


The Panthers play their home basketball games at the GSU Sports Arena
  • First season: 1963
  • Conference Championships (6)
    • 1991, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2014
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances (2)
  • NIT Appearances (1)
    • 2002 (1st round)
  • CIT Appearances (1)
    • 2012 (2nd round)
  • Retired Jerseys


Georgia State played its first season of football in 2010, opening against Shorter University in front of a crowd of over 30,000 fans at the Georgia Dome. The first two years were spent as Independents, playing a mix of NAIA, Division II teams, Division I FCS teams, and one Division I FBS team each season. In 2012, GSU played one year in the CAA, playing its first full year of only Division I teams. In 2013, the Panthers moved back to the conference they helped create, the Sun Belt, moving them out of the lower FCS Subdivision into the FBS, the highest level of play in college football. The Panthers will not be eligible for post season berth until 2014 as during the 2013 season they are still considered to be FBS transitional.


  • First season: 1956
  • Conference Championships (3)
    • 1996, 1998, 2009
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances (1)
    • 2009
  • Retired Jerseys
    • 30 Mike Hurst (head coach)

Men's Golf

Records for men's golf are incomplete between 1968 and 1988

  • Conference Championships (7)
    • 1998, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009
  • NCAA Regionals
    • 1999, 13th place
    • 2000, 5th place
    • 2001, 18th place
    • 2003, 13th place
    • 2004, 7th place
    • 2005, 4th place
    • 2006, 11th place
    • 2007, 9th place
    • 2008, 17th place
    • 2009, 6th place
    • 2010, 26th place (individual, Tom Sherreard)
  • NCAA Championship
    • 2000, unranked
    • 2004, 11th place
    • 2005, 13th place
    • 2007, unranked
    • 2008, 13th place (individual, Joel Sjoholm)


  • First Season: 1985
  • Conference Championships (6)
    • 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2011
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances
    • 1994, 2011

Woman's Golf

  • Conference Championships (5)
    • 2003, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010
  • NCAA Regionals
    • 2003, 18th place
    • 2005, 17th place
    • 2006, 11th place
    • 2008, 14th place
    • 2009, 9th place
    • 2010, 21st place
    • 2011, 87th place (individual)
    • 2012, unranked (individual)
  • NCAA Championship
    • 2006, 43rd place (individual)

Women's Basketball

  • First season: 1975
  • Conference Championships (2)
    • 2002, 2003
  • Conference Regular Season Champions
    • 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004
  • NCAA/AIAW Appearances (4)
    • 1981 (1st Round)
    • 2001 (1st Round)
    • 2002 (1st Round)
    • 2003 (1st Round)
  • WNIT Appearances (1)
    • 2000

Men's soccer

  • First Season: 1967
  • Conference Championships (5)
    • 1983, 1986, 1997, 2000
  • NCAA Appearances (8)

Women's soccer

  • First Season: 1994
  • Conference Championships (1)
    • 1997
  • NCAA Appearances (1)
    • 1997


  1. ^ "2012 Georgia State Panthers Baseball". Georgia State Athletics. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Panthers Athletics 49 Years Strong". Georgia State University. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  3. ^ "History". National Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  4. ^ "2012-13 Georgia State Panthers Women's Basketball". Georgia State Athletics. Retrieved 25 November 2012. 
  5. ^ "Georgia State Joins Sun Belt Conference". Georgia State University. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Taylor, Charlie. "Back to Its Roots: GSU Returns to Sun Belt Conference". Georgia State University. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  7. ^ Sharp, Andy. "Georgia State University versus Virginia Commonwealth University basketball game, the Omni, Atlanta, Georgia, January 20, 1981". University Library Digital Archives. Georgia State University. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  8. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions About Georgia State Football". Georgia State University. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "It's Official: Georgia State Joins CAA Football". Georgia State University. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  10. ^ Roberson, Doug (29 November 2012). "GSU adds women's swimming and diving". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  11. ^ "New Logos Unveiled". Georgia State University. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  12. ^ Kirk, Jason. "Georgia State's New Fight Song: How Atlanta Is It". SB Nation Atlanta. SB Nation. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  13. ^ 2006-07 On Campus Student Handbook. Atlanta, Georgia: Georgia State University. 2006. p. 72.4. 
  14. ^ Shirley, Daniel (21 February 2012). "Georgia State commissions FBS study". Macon Telegraph. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  15. ^ Roberson, Doug (28 February 2012). "Author of FBS study likes Georgia State's position". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  16. ^ "Georgia State to Join Sun Belt Conference in 2013". Georgia State University. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  17. ^ "Pounce". Georgia State University. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  18. ^ "About Georgia State Athletics". Georgia State University. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  19. ^ "Panthers Host In-State Foe Ga. Southern Tuesday". Georgia State University. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  20. ^ a b Hillyard, Chris. "GSU Set to Host Georgia Southern (GaSo)". Scout. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  21. ^ "Becoming a University". Making History. Georgia State University. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  22. ^ Wilver, Paul. "Georgia Southern University Fack Book 2000-2001". Georgia Southern University. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  23. ^ "Georgia Southern University Identification Standards Guide". Georgia Southern University. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  24. ^ Roberson, Doug (6 March 2013). "Here's why you say the Eagles should join the Panthers in the Sun Belt". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 

External links

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