History and Tradition of Maryville College Athletics by Eric Etchison (Updated November 11, 2019)
For over 143 years, Maryville College has enjoyed a rich history of excellence in intercollegiate athletics. Maryville’s first sponsored sport was baseball in 1876. It was soon followed by football (1889), track (1892), tennis (1898), men’s basketball (1903), and cross-country (1909). Women’s sports were played at a club level and continued on as club teams until 1975.
The early leaders of Maryville College recognized that personal and social values could be attained in sports competition. They also believed that “one of the greatest social contributions of athletics is the development of leaders.”
One of these campus leaders was the legendary Kin Takahashi. In 1889, Kin convinced several of his classmates to join him on the college’s first football team. Besides being the coach and starting quarterback, Kin found time to organize and lead the community efforts to erect Bartlett Hall, today’s student center.
Maryville’s athletic heritage is rich in stories of great wins and not-so-great losses. Let’s take a closer look at eight distinctive eras of our athletic history.
The Early era (1876-1920) also known as the gas-lit era saw the greatest upsurge of sports in this country’s history. From the end of the Civil War until the turn of the century, practically all of our sports were founded and organized beginning in the late 1800s.
The newly formed Maryville College Athletic Association charged its officers in 1892 to prepare a College yell and to determine the colors for their teams to play. On March 12, 1892, approval was given to adopt the colors as garnet and orange.
With the colors selected, who was the student body to “yell” for? Prior to 1915, Maryville’s Athletic teams were referred to as the Blount Countians. In 1915 J.E. Kidder, the athletic editor of the school’s newspaper the Highland Echo, called for a positive nickname for all of MC’s teams. He stated,” The Scotch Highlanders have always stood out prominently as a race of people who are sturdy, aggressive, and full of spirit. MC is located in the Highlands of the Chilhowie Mountains. As a natural sequence, it has been suggested that our teams be known as the Highlanders.”
The Highlanders nickname remained in use for over 40 years until the end of the Lombe Honaker era. Towards the end of the 1950s the Highlanders gave way to the present day Scots of Maryville College. A new set of logos to celebrate our Scottish heritage was unveiled in 2006 and is used on all of our uniforms and athletic equipment today.
The Lombe Honaker era (1921-1959) was highlighted by the greatest coach in MC history. Coach Honaker pioneered the emphasis on new facilities to entice the best recruits in East Tennessee. The new baseball coach, football coach, basketball coach, and athletic director oversaw the development of several outdoor facilities and the Alumni Gymnasium.
The success of Coach Honaker’s teams developed a great feeling of pride and the Scots faithful loved to see their team’s play.
The Scots of the Gridiron, led by Coach Honaker, played in the first Tangerine Bowl, now known as the Citrus Bowl, in 1946.
This school spirit lives on today as the Alma Mater. Developed on May 24, 1941, it is displayed at the end of every Scots home football victory. The College Fight song “On Highlanders” written in 1947 is shouted on top of victory hill and exclaimed by the winning football team. The Cooper Crazies continue the Scots’ Spirit from football to basketball.
During his tenure, Coach Honaker directed 38 seasons of football, basketball, and baseball and amassed a phenomenal 924 wins-604 losses and-31 ties. He produced 15 All-American football performers and 23 baseball players that went on to play in the pros.
The Boydson Baird era (1959-1975) was another growing period for MC athletics. Maryville began its membership with the NCAA in 1965. The Scots competed on a regular basis against NAIA teams with athletic scholarships like Cumberland, Union, Tennessee Wesleyan, Milligan, King, and Lincoln Memorial. We also continued to play the NCAA Division III powerhouses of Centre, Emory & Henry, Sewanee, and Rhodes. Coach Baird emulated Honaker’s tasks in leading the football, basketball, and baseball squads while serving as the College’s AD. Just as Coach Honaker did, Coach Baird led the Scots to hundreds of victories. Coach Baird was instrumental in the development of the present Cooper Athletic Center in 1970 and the main basketball court has been named in his honor. Coach Baird led the ‘74 baseball team to the institution’s first-ever NCAA Division III postseason berth. During Coach Baird’s tenure, the creation of our women’s sports programs began its evolution in 1975. Women’s basketball was first to gain varsity status in ‘75, followed by volleyball ‘76, and tennis in ‘77. In a summary provided by Rene A. Henry in her book "The Iron Indians", Baird was the head basketball coach and freshman football coach at William & Mary until returning to his alma mater, Maryville College in 1959 as athletic director, head football coach and assistant professor of physical education. In six seasons at Maryville, his football teams had a 27-23 record and the 1963 team was his best with an 8-1 record. He coached the basketball team for several seasons and is the third-winningest baseball coach in Maryville history. His 1974 baseball team was the first in any sport in Maryville history to qualify for an NCAA post-season tournament. Coach Baird was born in Kilbourne, Ohio. The Scots' basketball and volleyball teams play in the Boydson Baird Gymnasium named in his honor.
The early NCAA Division III era (1974-1979) saw the baseball team return to the NCAA Tournament in 1977 under the direction of Bill Henry. The Lady Scots volleyball team hosted the first ever NCAA Final-Four in 1981. The 1976-1979 football squads provided the greatest four-year span in MC Football History at that time. They went 28-7 that included an 8-1 season in 1978. The 1976 men’s tennis program earned their first bid to the NCAA post-season.
The Old Dominion Athletic Conference era (1980-1987)The Scots enjoyed their seven-year association with the Old Dominion Athletic Conference from 1980-1987. Men’s basketball went 17-8 in 1984-85 and won MC’s only ODAC title. The volleyball team earned NCAA regional bids following the 1981 and 1982 campaigns. Because of the travel demands, the Scots elected to withdraw from the ODAC and compete as an independent.
The NCAA Division III Independent era (1988-1999)
The women’s soccer program began their varsity status in the fall of 1988. Four sports (men’s soccer , volleyball, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball combined for 17 bids to the NCAA post-season. The 1991-1992 men’s basketball team advanced to the “Elite Eight” in the National Tournament going farther than any team in school history to date.
The Great South Athletic Conference era (2000-2012)
The Scots won 58 Great South Athletic Conference championships from 2000-2012, which was the best among all nine member institutions.
- Men’s Cross Country (4) 2001-2002, 2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2007-2008
- Women’s Cross Country (3) 2002-2003, 2006-2007, 2008-2009
- Men’s Soccer (7) 2001-2002, 2005-2006, 2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2011-2012
- Women’s Soccer (9) 2002-2003, 2003-2004, 2004-2005, 2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011
- Volleyball (9) 2000-2001, 2002-2003, 2003-2004, 2004-2005, 2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2011-2012
- Men’s Basketball (9) 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2003-2004, 2004-2005, 2006-2007, 2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2011-2012
- Women’s Basketball (8) 2000-2001, 2002-2003, 2003-2004, 2004-2005, 2005-2006, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2011-2012
- Baseball (4) 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2006-2007, 2008-2009
- Softball (1) 2001-2002
- Women’s Tennis (2) 2000-2001, 2001-2002
- Men's Tennis (1) 2009-2010
- Men's Golf (1) 2010-2011
In a dozen seasons, Maryville earned 15 different GSAC Presidents’ Cups, which recognizes the league’s overall winning program.
- 2001-2002 GSAC Overall
- 2003-2004 Men’s Champion
- 2004-2005 Men’s Champion
- 2004-2005 Women’s Champion
- 2005-2006 Men’s Champion
- 2005-2006 Women’s Champion
- 2006-2007 Men’s Champion
- 2006-2007 Women’s Champion
- 2007-2008 Men's Champion
- 2007-2008 Women's Champion
- 2008-2009 Men's Champion
- 2008-2009 Women's Champion
- 2009-2010 Men's Champion
- 2009-2010 Women's Champion
- 2011-2012 Women's Champion
Men’s Basketball dominated Great South action with nine conference titles in the twelve years. At one stretch, the MC Cagers received a post-season invitation for 11 consecutive seasons and have attended an amazing 18 NCAA National Tournaments in their history. The Scots posted a school record 17 game winning streak in 2007-08. The program has produced five recent All-Americans. Sidney Ellis, from Seymour, Tennessee, was named to the national team in ‘04 and ‘05. Bobby Golden, a local player from William Blount High School, earned similar honors during his senior season. Greg Hernandez earned All-American status from the NABC in 2010. Eryk Watson earned D3Hoops.com All-American honors following the 2010-2011 season.
For a dozen years, Men’s Soccer produced seven Great South titles and three NCAA tournament appearances, including a “sweet-sixteen” appearance in 2005.
The Scots baseball team continued their success on Scotland Yard with back-to-back conference titles in ‘01 and ‘02. They have captured the title again in 2007 and 2009 and are the only baseball playing school in the Great South to boast four league titles. The diamondmen have produced over 50 All-Region performers and numerous all-conference standouts as well as All-Americans Adam Rosen, Mark Morales, and Nick Dean. Dean became the first Maryville College player drafted in the MLB draft going in the 32nd round to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Women’s Soccer program finished with nine conference titles, and eight NCAA National Tournament appearances while in the league. They had a 116 conference win streak snapped in 2011 with a tie in the league final.
The Scots Softball team won the GSAC and went to the NCAA regionals following their 2002 season. They returned to the NCAA Tournament in 2007 following a 26-win season. MC won the Great South regular season title in 2009 with an 11-1 league mark.
The Women’s basketball program produced eight All-Americans in the modern era. They pace the athletic department with 22 National Tournament appearances. All-Americans Hayley Smith, Leah Onks-England, Jamie Parrott-Rogers, Natalie Munday, Alison Harmon, Janell Menard, and Mackenzie Puckett are seven of the many talented ladies who graced the Boydson Baird Gymnasium floor.
MC’s volleyball team has earned nine Great South Titles and 10 NCAA Tournament bids. Head Coach Kandis Schram eclipsed the 600-win plateau in 2011 and had her first All-American in Jennifer Seivers following the 2007 season. Karen Tobias, a volleyball graduate from Ohio, set a new NCAA Career dig record for ALL Divisions during her tenure at Maryville.
The USA South Athletic Conference era (2012-2013 to present)
The Scots have won 25 USA South Athletic Conference Regular Season Championships since joining the league as a department in the fall of 2012.
- Football (4) 2012-2013, 2013-2014, 2016-2017, 2018-2019
- Women's Basketball (5) 2012-2013, 2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2015-2016, 2016-2017
- Men's Basketball (3) 2013-2014, 2016-2017, 2017-2018
- Women's Soccer (5) 2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2019-2020
- Volleyball (3) 2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2019-2020
- Men's Soccer (3) 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019
- Softball (2) 2017-2018, 2018-2019
Additionally, Maryville College has claimed 12 USA South Athletic Conference Tournament Crowns in that span, earning NCAA Automatic Qualifiers for each.
- Women's Soccer (2) 2014-2015, 2019-2020
- Women's Volleyball (3) 2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2019-2020
- Women's Basketball (1) 2015-2016
- Men's Soccer (2) 2016-2017, 2018-2019
- Men's Basketball (2) 2017-2018, 2018-2019
- Softball (2) 2017-2018, 2018-2019
Maryville College claimed their first USA South Men's Presidents Cup at the conclusion of the 2016-2017 season
Cooper Athletic Center
As the individual and team success has grown over the years, so too has Maryville’s Athletic training services and Athletic facilities. Since the completion of the Cooper Athletic Center in 1970, every athletic facility has undergone an extensive renovation, giving Maryville one of the best playing venues in the NCAA Division III. The centerpiece of MC’s outstanding athletic facilities is the Cooper Athletic Center. The 1.7 million dollar structure was opened on December 12, 1970, when the Scots basketball team hosted Centre College. It received a million dollar renovation in 1991. The Cooper Athletic Center houses three regulation basketball courts, a pair of volleyball courts, an athletic training room, equipment room, and a 3,000 square foot weight room.
Lloyd L. Thornton Stadium, Honaker Field (Football)
Constructed in 1952, a quaint football atmosphere with close proximity to the action is provided for a capacity crowd of 5,000. Renovations to the home bleachers and press box occurred in 1993. A new concession stand and bathroom were added in 1997. Visitor stands were enhanced in 2001 while the entire field and entrance were updated in 2001.
Practice Football Field (Football)
A practice field adjacent to the Cooper Athletic Center was installed in 1975. The natural surface was updated in 1986.
Scotland Yard (Baseball)
Soccer Complex (Soccer)
A game field and practice field was installed in 1989. The game field was renovated with a press box added in 2001.
Tennis Courts (Tennis)
The tennis courts were installed in 1998 to develop the college’s intercollegiate tennis program. A new surface was installed in 2013 to enhance the student-athlete experience.
Softball Field (Softball)
The present softball facility was built in 1984. A press box was added to the perimeter in 2011. The facility was completely updated in 2018.
Cross Country Course (Cross Country)
Established in 2002, the Maryville College woods are a challenging and picturesque environment to host our cross country events on campus.
Athletic Program History
Founded in 1819 and affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, USA, Maryville College combines a regionally and nationally ranked liberal arts education with an array of competitive NCAA Division III athletic teams.
- Men’s Soccer (5) 1995, 1996, 2005, 2016, 2018
NCAA record: 1-4-1 (Last win vs Greensboro 1-0)
One "Sweet 16" Appearance: 2005
- Women’s Soccer (10) 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014, 2019
NCAA record: 2-9 (Last win vs Mary Washingtin 3-2)
- Volleyball (13) 1981, 1982, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2019
NCAA record: 1-12 (Last win 2009 vs Texas-Dallas-25-14, 25-21, 25-22)
- Men’s Basketball (20) 1990-1991, 1991-1992, 1992-1993, 1994-1995, 1996-1997, 1998-1999, 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004, 2004-2005, 2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2011-2012, 2017-2018, 2018-2019
NCAA Record:13-18 (Last win 2007 vs Mary Hardin Baylor 73-62)
Three "Sweet 16" Appearances:1991-92, 1999-00, 2003-04
One "Elite 8" Appearance: 1991-92
- Women’s Basketball (22) 1988-1989, 1989-1990, 1990-1991, 1991-1992, 1992-1993, 1993-1994, 1994-1995, 1995-1996, 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004, 2004-2005, 2005-2006, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2015-2016
NCAA record: 17-22 (Last win 2016 vs Birmingham-Southern 63-56)
Four "Sweet 16" Appearances: 1989-90, 1990-91, 1991-92, 2015-16
- Baseball (2) 1974, 1977
NCAA record: 1-4 (Last win 1974 vs Alabama State 5-0)
- Men's Tennis (1) 1976
- Softball (4) 2002, 2007, 2018, 2019
NCAA record: 4-8 (Last win 2019 vs St. Vincent 5-3)
- Football (2) 2013, 2018