Lady Bulldogs take on LSU and UK Basketball Teams

Article and photos by Cody Cunningham, graduate assistant in sports information

Coming off of a Sweet Sixteen appearance and a Gulf South Conference Championship in the first season eligible for the NCAA postseason, Coach Mark Campbell and the Lady Bulldog basketball team decided to take on some of the best teams in the country. To open up its season Union traveled to Louisiana State University and then on to the University of Kentucky for exhibition matches to provide a revealing test for the 2015-16 squad.

_MG_5957 Playing in Division I venues is a far different experience than taking on opponents in the Lady Bulldogs home gym, Fred Delay Gymnasium. For a comparison, The Fred holds 2,200 fans when at capacity. In contrast, LSU’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center holds 13,215 spectators. However, the differences don’t stop there. The SEC arenas come adorned with video boards along and above the courts as well as marching bands behind the goals, just to name a few.

_MG_5983 The big lights might be a shock for some of the Lady Bulldogs, but for one they are all too familiar. Carnecia Williams, a junior transfer from Mississippi State, has played in these gyms for the last two years, and that experience certainly has its advantages.

Although games against the elite college basketball teams in the country seem like a morale killer to those on the outside, Coach Campbell likened it to an “impossible mountain to climb” said it shows his team what needs improvement.

_MG_6040 “Ultimately, I think it accomplishes what we want it to accomplish,” Campbell said. “People are going to have better players than us. They are going to be taller, going to be faster, and stronger … and that exposes our weaknesses.”

Although the Lady Bulldogs lost both contests versus SEC teams, they won their other exhibition match against Division III Rhodes College, 87-63. Union kicks off conference play Dec. 3 at 6 p.m., hosting Shorter.

For complete coverage of Union basketball, visit uuathletics.com and follow along on social media @UUAthletics on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram._MG_6350 _MG_6355 _MG_6377 _MG_6414

Introducing New Athletics Coaches

Darrin McClure and Jenna Kelley PortraitThe Lady Bulldog volleyball team is working with two new coaches for the upcoming season. Darrin McClure, head coach, and Jenna Kelley, assistant coach, may be new to Union, but they are veterans of the sport. McClure comes to Union after coaching at UT Martin for seven years. He brings with him a distinct enthusiasm for Union and the community here. When asked about what drew him to Union, he noted that he really enjoyed all of the people here and the Christ-centered values.  Kelley is one of McClure’s former Martin players and has been playing the sport since fifth grade. Kelley also worked for Fellowship of Christian Athletes after receiving her MBA in 2014.

We are so excited about the level of skill and enthusiasm that McClure and Kelley are bringing to the team!  They are hoping to get the girls involved on campus and be a part of the wonderful Union community. To learn more about their backgrounds, check out these new releases from uuathletics.com:

Join us Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Fred DeLay Gym for the first home match!

Susie Oliver portrait

The other new coach for the 2015-2016 season is someone already well-acquainted with Union: our first lady and now cheer coach, Susie Oliver. She started in the sport as a cheerleader in fourth grade all the way through college and began coaching in 1980. Between coaching for national competitions and even taking a group to participate in the opening ceremony of the 1996 Summer Olympics, Oliver brings over 30 years of experience to the table. It is obvious when talking to her that she is thrilled to be working with Union’s cheer program. Her focus right now is on recruiting and increasing the size of the squad. Oliver’s goal is to make the games a wonderful experience for fans and provide entertainment through more stunting and using both sides of the court.

Susie is eager to recruit students who are athletic and hard working, so if you know of a good candidate, don’t hesitate to contact her!

Lady Bulldogs to Host NCAA Div II Tournament Games

Congratulations to the Lady Bulldogs, who captured their first Gulf South Conference title and earned a No. 1 seed in the South Region of the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball National Tournament. As the top seed, Union will host the entire South Region, with the Lady Bulldogs taking on No. 8 seed Albany State this Friday, March 13, at 5 p.m.

We would love to see the Fred Delay Gymnasium full of fans and students. To help us fill it up, use #fillthefred on social media to promote the game. Fans not able to attend the tournament in person can watch or listen to the game online.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, earned an at-large bid to the South Region of the national tournament in Lakeland, Florida. This will mark Union’s first appearance in the NCAA National Tournament since the 1968 season. Union, the No. 7 seed, will face No. 2 seed Barry University on Saturday, March 14, at 2:30 p.m. Watch or listen to the game online.

Go Bulldogs!

The Lady Bulldogs after their Gulf South Conference tournament win

The Bulldogs kicking off the season at Bulldog Madness

Mark Campbell Reaches 500 Career Wins

Team photo from Mark Campbell's first year as head coach

Mark Campbell, far right, in his first team photo as head women’s basketball coach.

Mark Campbell has been head women’s basketball coach at Union University for 15 seasons and has time and time again proven his merits as a coach. If asked about his achievements, he credits his assistant coaches and players more than himself. This humble, team-centered attitude is at the root of what makes him a great coach, and last night was an important milestone for him. The 77-66 victory over Valdosta State marked his 500th career win. Check out UUAthletics.com for more on this story and Mark Campbell’s career.

Photos below are from the game against Valdosta State.

Mark Campbell talks with a player during the gameMark Campbell cheers during a game Mark Campbell watches the action unfold from the bench Mark Campbell yells out a play Mark Campbell watches the intense action under the goal Mark Campbell and players during a timeout Mark Campbell yells plays from the sideline Mark Campbell instructs players Mark Campbell discusses the game after the win Mark Campbell celebrates with the players in the locker room