NEWPORT NEWS, Va.—The Atlantic 10 Conference officially welcomed Davidson College as its 14th member Tuesday, just over one year after the A-10 Council of Presidents unanimously voted to formally accept the school’s application for membership. A prestigious private institution in Davidson, N.C., the Wildcat athletic program sponsors 19 of the Atlantic 10’s 21 championship sports.
Located just north of Charlotte within the Atlantic 10 footprint, the Wildcats have a tradition of excellence in intercollegiate athletics led by men’s basketball, a successful women’s basketball program and strong Olympic sports programs. Consistently ranked in the top ten of the best Liberal Arts schools in the United States, Davidson’s academic programs are among the best in the nation.
"All of us in the Atlantic 10 are delighted to add such an academically distinguished and athletically competitive institution to our conference," Chair of the A-10 Council of Presidents and President of The George Washington University Dr. Steven Knapp said in May of 2013 regarding the announcement that Davidson would join the Atlantic 10.
Davidson has made 11 appearances in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, including five since 2002. The Wildcats, behind long-time coach Bob McKillop and All-American sharpshooter Stephen Curry, made a run to the 2008 Elite Eight. Additionally, 10 Olympic sports in the A-10 have automatic qualifying (AQ) status for the NCAA Championships. The league has also earned six at-large Olympic-sport selections to the NCAAs in the last two years. Davidson has a history of success in Olympic sports, including a run to the men’s soccer College Cup.
“Davidson is an ideal fit for the Atlantic 10 – as a nationally recognized academic institution complimented by excellence in a broad-based athletic program -- the Wildcats will be competitive immediately. Their success in men's basketball is important, bringing another nationally recognized brand into the league," stated A-10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade in May of 2013. “It is my pleasure to welcome Davidson's administration, their student-athletes, staff, alumni and fans to the Atlantic 10 Conference. They will maintain our presence in the Charlotte market, one of the top 25 media markets in the country, and reinforce our commitment to national prominence in men’s basketball.”
A hallmark of the Atlantic 10 Conference is its academic reputation. The league ranks second among all Division I conferences in the most recent NCAA graduation rates (GSR) with an incredible 90 percent of student-athletes graduating. Davidson had 14 teams achieve perfect GSR rates last fall and nearly all of its teams achieved a 990 or better in the Academic Progress Rate (APR).
“Davidson is thrilled to join the Atlantic 10 Conference to compete alongside some of the most dynamic Division I student-athletes in the country,” Davidson President Dr. Carol Quillen said when announcing the move in 2013. “Our athletic teams – from men’s basketball to women’s lacrosse, from men’s swimming to women’s tennis – are ready for this new opportunity and we have the greatest confidence they will succeed.”
The move will also allow Davidson to have a home for its swimming & diving, field hockey and women’s lacrosse programs within the school’s primary conference affiliation in the A-10. This affords the Wildcat programs the opportunity to grow the brand recognition for those sports and contributes to the overall success of the Davidson athletics.
"The Atlantic 10 is a conference that gives Davidson the opportunity to be associated with and compete against institutions with significant profiles, both academically and athletically, while we continue to establish our national brand. This is a great opportunity to use athletics to further the goals and objectives of the college as we enhance the experience of our students," said Jim Murphy, Davidson Director of Athletics.