2005 Football Championship Chosen as Fan-FavoriteMay 28, 2009
Courtesy of the Big South Conference
ROCK HILL, S.C. – More than 3,800 votes were cast online to help determine the Big South’s “Best of the Best” moment and the fans chose Charleston Southern’s run to the 2005 Big South Football Championship as the number one moment in Big South history, it was announced tonight at the 25th Anniversary banquet held at McBryde Hall on the campus of Winthrop University.
Liberty University’s 10-year Women’s Basketball championship dynasty from 1997-2006, highlighted by the Lady Flames’ “Sweet Sixteen” appearance in 2005, was the overall top vote-getter among the Conference’s eight-member 25th Anniversary Committee and online fan voting, receiving 209 out of a possible 225 points.
Below is the official Top 10 ranking of the Big South’s 25 “Best of the Best” moments, with vote totals in parentheses:
1 – 1997-2006 Liberty Women’s Basketball (209) – Starting in 1997, the Liberty Women’s Basketball Team set off on an amazing run – 10-straight Conference titles. In 2005, that run was capped off with a trip to the NCAA “Sweet Sixteen” where the Lady Flames knocked off national powers Penn State and DePaul. In the 10-year span, Liberty was 237-69 overall ( =.892 winning percentage), 121-13 in Big South games ( =.903), 28-0 in the Big South Tournament, was nationally ranked in 2003 and 2005, and defeated the likes of Wake Forest, West Virginia, Virginia and Kansas State during the regular-season.
2 – 2006-07 Winthrop Men’s Basketball (199) – In 2007, Winthrop University and Big South men’s basketball reached its destiny. The Eagles netted the Conference’s first-ever national ranking, won a League-record 29 games and later dominated Notre Dame in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament to become the first men’s basketball team to advance to the Second Round.
3 – 2003 Coastal Carolina Men’s Soccer and Joseph Ngwenya (168) – In 2003, Coastal Carolina’s Men’s Soccer squad made a monumental run in the NCAA Tournament. Led by National Player of the Year Joseph Ngwenya, the Chanticleers knocked off Davidson and North Carolina to reach the “Sweet Sixteen” – the Big South’s first athletic program to advance that far in an NCAA Championship.
4 – 1986-1996 Radford Women’s Basketball (162) – The Big South’s first dynasty in any sport was Radford’s Women’s Basketball Team. From 1986-1996, the Highlanders won nine Conference titles. They were the first program in Big South history to advance to postseason play with a berth in the Women’s NIT in 1989.
5 – Katie Feenstra, Liberty women’s basketball (149) – In her four years at Liberty, she was a three-time Big South Player of the Year, two-time All-American and led the nation in field goal percentage twice. Feenstra was also nominated for the Wade Trophy, the John Wooden Award and the Naismith Award during her playing days. She is beginning her fifth season in the WNBA in 2009 and her second stint with the San Antonio Silver Stars.
6 – Josh McDougal, Liberty cross country/track (147) – McDougal became the Big South’s second NCAA National Champion by winning the 2007 cross country title. With 14 career All-American honors among his many career accolades, McDougal is the Big South’s most decorated runner.
7 – Coastal Carolina Baseball (146) – In 2001, Coastal Carolina’s baseball team put itself on the national map where the program has stayed ever since. Now with eight NCAA appearances in nine years, the Chanticleers broke through with a Super Regional appearance in 2008 and a near trip to the College World Series. The program has posted 50 wins in three of the last five seasons.
8 – Liberty’s Track & Field Program and Heather Sagan (138) – In 2002, Liberty’s Heather Sagan was the Big South’s first National Champion in any sport when she won the indoor mile run. Sagan’s victory is part of Liberty’s track & field dominance as the Flames have now won 44 of the 56 Big South Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Conference Championships.
9 – 2003 UNC Asheville Men’s Basketball (130) – In 2003, UNC Asheville gave the Big South Conference its first NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament win when the Bulldogs knocked off Texas Southern in overtime. UNC Asheville went 5-0 in overtime games that season, and 11 of its 14 Conference games were decided in the final minute of play, including seven determined on the final possession.
10 – Martin Sayer, Radford men’s tennis (129) – Now one of four Big South student-athletes to be named Player of the Year all four years of eligibility, Sayer received his fourth at-large selection to the NCAA Singles Championship in 2009 – the only men’s tennis player in Big South history with this distinction. He concluded his playing career with a 114-25 record.
The Big South’s 25th Anniversary was presented by Corporate Partner Royal Purple. Fans can still visit the Conference’s 25th Anniversary Media Center at www.BigSouthSports.com, which features video vignettes and profiles around all 25 “Best of the Best” moment, which has already been viewed by tens of thousands of visitors. Additional viewings of the 25th Anniversary videos have come through the Conference’s YouTube channel at www.YouTube.com/bigsouthsports.