Carson-Newman College Athletics
As coaches and staff, our mission is: "To recruit student-athletes that more fairly resemble the rest of the student body in their academic performance, social behavior, and spiritual beliefs". When we successfully achieve these objectives, winning and losing takes care of itself.
YESTERDAY: Carson-Newman has sponsored intercollegiate athletics for 112 years. As the oldest co-educational college in the state of Tennessee, the institution has produced 224 All-Americans, six team national championships, a dozen individual national champions, and too many conference titles to count.
TODAY: The college sponsors approximately 450 participants in 18 intercollegiate sports. Our student-athletes compete in the NCAA.
TOMORROW: Our goal is to provide quality coaching and strong value teaching within the academic, social, and spiritual fabric of this great institution.
This is your invitation to be a part of the outstanding team of coaches and students known as Eagle Athletics.
Carson-Newman College Athletics
Eagle Firsts and Notables
*Note- to learn more about the history of Carson-Newman, go to the homepage of the C-N website http://www.cn.edu and click on Alumni.
-- First intercollegiate athletic event; baseball. Final score Carson-Newman 4, University of Tennessee 3.
-- The college joins the East Tennessee Football Association.
-- The college becomes a Charter member of the Smoky Mountain Athletic Conference.
-- Charter member of the Volunteer State Athletic Conference.
-- C-N becomes the First college in the United States to have two graduates inducted in the Football Hall of Fame; Dana X. Bible (Class of 1912) and Bernie Moore (Class of 1917).
-- First member of the VSAC to win a national championship: NAIA Baseball World Series.
-- First member of the Volunteer State Athletic Conference-Eastern Division to admit and scholarship an African-American athlete: Tony Mills in the sport of basketball.
-- The college becomes a Charter member of the South Atlantic Conference (football only)
-- First school in the VSAC-Eastern Division to offer scholarship in women's basketball.
-- Dale Clayton becomes the First full-time, African-American head coach in the Tennessee Valley Athletic Conference.
-- Coach Clayton becomes the First African-American head coach and athletic administrator (Asst. AD) in the newly created South Atlantic Conference (comprehensive league).
-- First South Atlantic Conference member to name a Senior Woman Administrator: Vickee Hollifield.
-- Carson Newman is the First member of the SAC to qualify a team for NCAA post season competition: football.
-- First institution in the SAC to qualify a second team for NCAA post season play: men's basketball.
-- First South Atlantic Conference member to compete in a NCAA national championship game: Football 1996, 1998, & 1999.
-- First member of the South Atlantic Conference to play before a national TV audience: NCAA football championship game on ESPN.
-- First SAC school to advance a sport, other than football, to a NCAA "Final Four": women's soccer 2004 & 2005.
-- First and only SAC institution to request and receive from the NCAA Compliance Blueprint Review to certify the school's internal integrity to follow the rules.
-- Ken Sparks sets record for most wins as a head coach.
Carson-Newman College Athletics
History of the Eagles
-- On April 27, 1895, Carson-Newman had its first intercollegiate contest when the baseball team of Carson-Newman met The University of Tennessee and defeated them 4 to 3. Organized football also appeared on the campus in the fall of the same year when the game was instituted by Luther M. Beeler and a student, James S. Floyd. Beeler had completed his training at Carson College and had entered Yale University, where he studied for two years. While a student at Yale, he also studied the game of football and after returning to his home in Jefferson City, he became a volunteer coach of the new Carson-Newman team. Floyd was the captain and quarterback of the first Carson-Newman College football team.
-- A game was played with The University of Tennessee. The University was leading by a wide margin at the half, but during the second half they were unable to score on Carson-Newman. By the session of 1911, basketball was established with a men's team that was undefeated. Since that time Carson-Newman was reached a point of national recognition in nearly all sports.
-- After a few seasons, when some football enthusiastic had graduated, interest dropped. The next team was organized under the leadership of Professor Luther Birdwell DeArmond and the college joins the East Tennessee Football Association.
-- Both Tennis and Basketball were introduced as recognized college sports. Basketball was first played on outside courts but this was changed under President J.M. Burnett's administration. The platform of the college auditorium was used as a basketball court by the varsity teams of both men and women. Since the same platform was used for dramatics and nearly all public programs of the college,: it was necessary to maintain a rigid schedule for its use."
-- By the session of 1911-1912, basketball was well established and the men's team was undefeated. Oscar L. McMahan, a student, was captain and manager. The other players were B. Carroll Reece, Dana X. Bible, Clyde Hale, Roy Shipley, Theron Sams, and Hugh Hayworth.
-- In the spring of 1912, a movement was initiated for the organization of an East Tennessee Athletic Association. The association was headed by Professor W. L. Gentry and was composed of the following schools: Grant University, Maryville, Carson-Newman, Tusculum, Johnson Bible and King Colleges. The association directed and regulated football, baseball, basketball, and track meets, with each college deciding which contests it would enter. There were regulations as to scholarship and attendance that governed the participation of any student in contest. A college pennant was to be given in each form of athletics.
-- Girls were encouraged to continue athletics even though they could not participate in the intercollegiate contests. It was suggested that there were plenty of games suit able for them, with tennis being the most excellent for boys and girls alike.
-- A track meet was held in the spring of 1913 with King College. As a preliminary to the meet, there was to be a Field Day on the campus. The Field Day meant more than any previous one as there were prizes awarded and the winner had the privilege of going to Bristol to the main track meet. Each student was encouraged to practice and to enter as many events as possible.
-- Under Coach Barnett, all athletic interests were placed under the direction of the athletic association and were subject to the supervision and guidance of the Faculty Committee on Athletics. The athletics cabinet, which was composed of the faculty committee and the managers of the various teams, ruled on all games, trips, and expeditions. The college authorities took an interest in and encouraged the sports program and an attempt was made to keep athletics on a sane basis, not usurping undue importance in college affairs, as was often true in college life.
-- A Letter Club to promote closer fellowship among the athletes was organized in 1914. It was composed of young men who earned letters on varsity athletic teams. All team members had to meet the academic standards required by the college and the Smoky Mountain Athletic Conference (SMAC). Members entered the organization by election and by completing an initiation, which might include long hikes from a point of deposit to their homes, sleeping out overnight; or after performing other chores, being made the butt of jokes and frivolity. Coaches were the sponsors of the organization. The club had various methods of earning money, including the preparation of concessions at games played at home.
-- For the first time in several years, the girls of Carson-Newman College formed a basketball team. In fact, there were several teams sponsored by the societies, but the only one that played any games with out-of-town teams was the team composed of college girls who lived in town. The college did not support the local team, financially or otherwise. The team had a good record, winning three games.
-- The first girl's basketball game of the season was with a strong Knoxville High School team. The girls made a good showing in the game considering that it was their first game and the first game in which many of the girls had ever played. It was a hard fought game throughout but ended in a 9 to 9 tie which was never played off. The three victories were against The University of Tennessee girls, 14-13: Knoxville Y.W.C.A., 34-7; and Park City girls, 18-6.
-- In 1920 the girls "club" basketball team goes undefeated.
-- There had been a need for a gymnasium for more than forty years and President Sams knew that one had to be built if athletics were to be kept alive at Carson-Newman. Mr. Henry D. Blanc told President Sams he would donate $10,000 toward the building of gymnasium if anyone would match his offer. Mr. D. L. Butler accepted the challenge and both men presented their money to Dr. Sams in chapel before the student body. President Sams formally accepted the money at a meeting of the Board of Trustees on May 18, 1921, and work was started immediately on the new gymnasium. Other gifts for the new structure then began to come in. Because of the attitude and support of many people, the gymnasium was made possible.
-- The 1921 football season started off with excellent prospects. A number of players of experience and promise flocked to the gridiron, and the "thud of the pigskin was a song of optimism to the cheerful supporters of the orange and blue." The strength of the team attracted widespread attention, and the "ginger with which that strength was applied won for them the distinguishing pseudonym, "The Fighting Parsons." The cognomen followed on into basketball, track, and baseball; it looked like a permanent fixture to all Carson-Newman teams.
-- In the 1921-1922 academic year, the college began to give limited athletic aid, a practice that contributed to the athletic program. Most of the money came from outside the college through the community and alumni, with the college making some appropriations. At that time it did not cost much to attend Carson-Newman "a few hundred dollars went a long way."
-- The football game played with Camp Benning on November 10, 1923, was historic in that Major Dwight D, Eisenhower, who was on duty at Camp Benning, was the assistant coach of that team. Carson-Newman defeated Camp Benning 16 to 6.
-- The basketball schedule for the 1923-1924 year resulted in the winning of seventeen of the eighteen games scheduled. Carson-Newman outscored their opponents 677 to 281 points. The highlight of the basketball season was a 32 to 28 decision over Georgetown University of Washington, D.C., the first defeat in eight years for Georgetown. "The story of the 1924 victory over Georgetown was one Carson-Newman would long remember."
-- Coach Lake Russell molded the team into one of the best group of baseball players to wear the orange and blue to that time. During the entire season, not a single game was lost. The Notre Dame team came South on their annul tour and were seeking revenge as they had lost to Carson-Newman the previous year. "Big Red" Strange, All-American tackle for Notre Dame who was considered one of the best pitchers in the Big Ten Conference, had been saved to wreak revenge upon the Parsons. Once again the `Fighting Irish' would suffer defeat at the hands of the boys from Mossy Creek.
-- The basketball story for 1926 was favorable. In defeating every contender in East Tennessee, including The University of Tennessee, the Fighting Parsons' basketball team annexed the state crown of 1926. Coach Russell was in his fourth year as coach of the basketball team and each year was most successful. During those four years, he lost only eleven games and the team not only boasted a championship team, but also boasted of having the tallest basketball player in the world, Milas Shoun. "Slim" as his teammates called him, was 7'3" tall and was not recruited to come to Carson-Newman but came on his own because his relatives had attended Carson-Newman. Coach Holt recalled that "Slim" played defense and would usually stay at one end of the court on defense, while the other four team members would play full court and press with the ball. During that time there was not a goal¬tending rule and many times "Slim" would just reach up and knock the ball out of the basket, much to the opposing teams disgust.
-- For many years there had been a need for publicity for the athletic teams. Some coverage was provided but as the interest grew and the teams improved more coverage was needed. Coach Russell also recognized that good publicity would help the overall sports program. Fletcher Sweet related his experience of becoming the first public relations employee of the college in.
-- Toward the close of 1928-1929 academic session, Coach Russell was offered a position as head coach at Mercer University, Macon, Georgia, which he accepted. Before leaving, he strongly recommended Samuel B. "Frosty" Holt, who since his graduation in 1927, had been coach at Virginia High School, Bristol, Virginia. His two years at Bristol had given him valuable experience and had been very successful. He, also, developed one of the all-time great football players--Beattie Feathers. In his years at Carson-Newman, Coach Holt was in charge of three major sports and the head of the Health and Physical Education Department of the college.
-- While Coach Holt was a student at Carson-Newman, he earned thirteen athletics letters in his four years of competition in football, basketball, baseball, and track. In 1922, Carson-Newman sponsored a track team and he earned his letter by participating in the 100 and 220 yard dashes.
-- During the 1930-1931 school year at Carson-Newman, Coach Holt decided that a new name was needed for the athletic teams of Carson-Newman. He felt that people thought of Carson-Newman as a school for preachers and this made it a little harder for him to recruit athletes. Because of this, he conducted a contest, offering a $10 gold piece for the best nickname suggested for the college teams. The name chosen was "Fighting Eagles." The person submitting the winning name was Miss Tennessee Jenkins, professor of history at the college. Since that time all athletic teams representing the college have been known as the Fighting Eagles.
-- On February 1, 1938, the most tragic accident in the athletic history of Carson-Newman College occurred when two basketball players, Jimmie Grissom and Roy Roberts, were killed in a collision of the team bus in route to an out of town game. A tribute to the memory of these two student-athletes can be observed in the Carson-Newman Athletic Hall of Fame trophy case.
-- The "Fighting Eagles" Football squad plays its first ever night game in Jefferson City against Appalachian State.
-- When World War II began, most of the men at the college, including the athletes, left Carson-Newman to serve their country. In the fall of 1942, Coach Frosty Holt fielded a football team by using the men of the V-12 Navy program which occupied the campus as a training facility.
-- The Carson-Newman V-12 football squad won four of five games, losing only to Vanderbilt.
-- Baseball was discontinued due to lack of participation and available transportation. Coach Holt made arrangements for the Reservists to play softball. Four teams were formed and played a round-robin schedule within the school.
-- The G.I.s returned to campus and a full slate of athletics was reborn. The season not only brought Carson-Newman its first post-war football team, but Coach Holt introduced a new offensive system.
-- The boys from Mossy Creek used the highly publicized "T" formation, with a an occasional shift into the former "Holt single-wing."
-- Charles Moffett related in a questionnaire in April 1972, how the "T" formation was refined. In the spring of 1947, Bernie Moore (class of 1917) College Football Hall of Famer, had installed the "T" formation at L.S.U. Coach Holt and Moffett met Bernie Moore at the Andrew-Johnson Hotel in Knoxville to learn the system in detail. It would pay big dividends!
-- Returning letterman, Hubert Ashe; a C-N Hall of Famer, Tom Northern, and Joe Shipley lead the baseball Eagles to another Smoky Mountain Athletic Conference championship. Ashe would once again be the main cog as Carson-Newman captured the SMAC title in 1953.
--C-N Basketball Hall of Famer, Arnold Mellinger, directs the Eagles to the Smoky Mountain Athletic Conference championship. Mullingar's #30 is the only basket ball number.
-- A second consecutive SMAC baseball title is won by Carson-Newman. Tennis also wins the SMAC crown.
-- Carson-Newman baseball wins both the Smoky Mountain and Volunteer State Athletic Conference championships.
-- The tennis team wins the SMAC and VSAC championships for the third straight season.
-- Holt Fieldhouse is built. Renovated in 1992, it is the home floor for Men's and Women's Basketball and Women's Volleyball. The lower level of Holt Fieldhouse sports team locker rooms, a state of the art training room, and a 3,200 square foot weight training facility.
-- The 1960 tennis team was the first athletic team to represent Carson-Newman in a national tournament in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. It was during the fall of 1964 that the tennis team had access to four new courts making eight courts for varsity play on campus.
-- The soccer team for 1961 was not to be outdone as they ended their season undefeated with a record of 4-0. The high point of the season was the trip to Blacksburg, Virginia, to play Virginia Polytechnical Institute; Carson-Newman won by a score of 6-2. Derrick Davis, a four year stand-out for the soccer team signed a professional contract with the New York Americans of the International Soccer League. This was another first in the history of Carson-Newman sports.
-- A new fall sport of cross country was added to the athletic program in 1961. The new team coached by "Frosty" Holt "gained much in school competition but lacked support of the student body." The team was led by Jerry Turley and met many of the teams in the Volunteer State Athletic Conference and the Ohio Valley Conference. Cross Country was not the only new sport on campus as wrestling was also added with Bob Davis as coach. The team had to be satisfied with experience since their only two wins were over the Knoxville YMCA and the Birmingham YMCA.
-- Basketball advances to it's first ever NAIA national tournament. Former President Harry Truman welcomes the Eagles upon their arrival in Kansas City. Chris Jones becomes Carson-Newman's first All-American in any sport.
-- Basketball advances to another NAIA national tournament, Baseball wins the VSAC title once again, and advances to the NAIA District 27 finals.
-- Carson-Newman has its 44 game home basketball winning streak snapped. The Eagles would rebound to advance the NAIA national tourney in Kansas City.
--Baseball wins the NAIA National Championship. --The 1965 Eagle baseball squad followed "in the tradition of Coach Holt" by posting one of the finest records in the history of baseball at Carson-Newman. They ended the season with a 36-3 mark and the national baseball championship. Due to illness, Coach Holt was forced to give up the baseball team which was coached by Bobby Wilson, already on the staff at Carson-Newman. The Eagles captured the Eastern Division of the Volunteer State Athletic Conference and then defeated the Western Division champions.
-- Basketball advances to yet another NAIA national tournament in Kansas City.
-- Burke-Tarr Stadium is completed. The new football complex is dedicated on Homecoming Day, as the Eagles beat Maryville College. Carson-Newman defeats Georgetown College in the Exchange Bowl, held in Kingsport, Tennessee.
-- Football finishes the fall campaign with 8 wins, the most in a single season since the 1947 Burley Bowl team.
-- The Carson-Newman baseball team closed out the decade of the 60's by either winning the Volunteer State Athletic Conference Eastern Division Championship and/or advancing to the NAIA District Tournament all ten years.
-- Football defeats Fairmont State in the Share Bowl. It would be the first of two back-to-back 10 winning seasons from Coach Dal Shealy and his Eagles.
-- The following year the 1972 team had a 16-0 record, won the Volunteer State Athletic Conference, Tennessee Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and District 24. In Volunteer State Athletic Conference play, they set several records. Their win marked the first time that a club had swept twenty-seven out of a possible twenty-seven points.
-- The 1972 team under Coach Charlie King made history as they were the first Carson-Newman golf team to participate in a national tournament. They finished the season with a 14-1 record, won the Volunteer State Athletic Conference and the NAIA District title.
-- Basketball and Baseball win the Volunteer State Athletic Conference Eastern Division championships, while Men's Tennis claims the VSAC and NAIA District crowns and advances to the national tournament.
-- Basketball wins another VSAC Eastern Division title. Baseball and Golf claim the conference championship and finish runner-up in the NAIA District tournament.
-- Men's Tennis captures the VSAC and District trophies and advances to the NAIA National championships for the second consecutive year.
-- Track is crowned the Tennessee Intercollegiate Athletic Conference State champions under the leadership of Head Coach Ken Sparks.
-- Carson Newman joins the South Atlantic Conference (SAC 8)- a Football only league. Original members were C-N, Catawba, Elon, Gardner-Webb, Lenoir-Rhyne, Mars Hill, Newberry, and Presbyterian.
-- Women's Basketball becomes a varsity sport. Conchita King of Sevierville receives the first scholarship.
-- Mrs. Joy Walden purchased and donated to the Athletic Department a 15-passenger van for the exclusive use for women's athletics.
-- Ken Sparks is named Head Football Coach and Athletic Director in December.
-- In January, Tony Griffith becomes C-N's first full time Athletic Trainer.
-- David Barger accepts a newly created position, Director of Athletic Promotions, in July.
-- Data Caldwell is selected as the college's first female All-American.
-- Women's Track becomes an intercollegiate scholarship sport.
-- Women's Tennis is elevated to varsity status with scholarships.
-- The Volunteer State Athletic Conference (VSAC) is dissolved and Carson-Newman joins the newly formed Tennessee Valley Athletic Conference (TVAC). Charter members include C-N, King, Lee, LMU, Milligan, Tennessee Wesleyan, Tusculum.
-- The South Atlantic Conference becomes a comprehensive league for all sports.
-- Dale Clayton and Jim Deaton are named Assistant Athletic Directors and David Barger becomes Director of Athletic Development during a major departmental re-organization.
-- The Eagle Club Annual Scholarship Fund exceeds $100,000 for the first time in school history under the newly re-structured athletic department.
-- Eric Trainer is selected as Carson-Newman's first full time Sports Information Director.
-- The NCAA accepts Carson-Newman as a member at the January convention in Nashville, Tennessee.
-- Women's Soccer becomes an intercollegiate sport.
-- Carson Newman becomes the first school in the South Atlantic Conference to name a Senior Woman Administrator, Vickee Hollifield is promoted to the position.
-- C-N advances teams and individual performers to NCAA post season competition during its first year of eligibility. Those sports advancing included football, men's basketball, wrestling, and softball.
Special Thanks to Dr. Chris Jones, as much of the historical data from 1895-1972 was taken from his book "It Gets Foggy At Mossy Creek."