William Peace University is well into its third year of co-ed enrollment. This includes only the third year that the school has men’s sports, but that hasn’t stopped the men’s basketball team for making a name for themselves.
“Even though we are a new program, everyone in our locker room always believed that we could have success early on. There is no blueprint for how to start a new program, but with belief in one another and in the coaching staff, we knew that we had a chance to do really great things,” said Senior on the Men’s team, Michael Wolf. “It is really exciting to be having success so early on in our program’s history. When we first got here in 2012, we didn’t really know what to expect, but Coach always told us that we were building something special and we all bought in to that.”
The William Peace Men’s Basketball team was expected to finish last in the USA South Conference. The team came up just short of a regular season conference crown, falling to the league champion Cougars of Averett University Friday night. 12 ties and 22 lead changes later in what was the USA South’s biggest game of the year, the Pacers finished the regular season in 3rd place, which is the best the team has done in its history and most certainly better than last place.
“This year has been a bit different because we are more experienced and we know exactly what it takes to be successful. Last year was our first year in the conference and we lost a lot of close games that went down to the wire,” said Coach Calude Shields. “We were able to learn from that and use those losses as motivation in the offseason and come back this year more battle-tested and prepared to be on the winning side of those close games.”
For the first time the Pacers are gearing up for men’s basketball tournament. The Pacers will open first round play next Thursday at 3:00 p.m.
With success so quick in its program, their fan base has grown just as quickly. Each game there becomes less and less space in the bleachers. “I enjoy the excitement from the games and seeing everyone getting together to support our school,” said First year student Sharmanie Lemon.
As the success of the men’s basketball team continues to grow, so will the fans, if the men keep it up, Renovations for the Herman athletic center might be in order.