One of the oldest Division III conferences in the nation, the USA South was born as the Dixie Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 1963 when six institutions with similar philosophies of academics and athletics joined as founding members. The original members were: Charlotte College (now UNC-Charlotte), College of Charleston (S.C.), Methodist University, North Carolina Wesleyan College, St. Andrews Presbyterian College, and Lynchburg College. The basis for the new athletic conference was that participation would be strictly amateur, and thus no athletically awarded financial aid or athletic scholarships would be awarded. That philosophy still exists today.
In February 2003, it was announced that the Dixie Intercollegiate Athletic Conference would change its name to the USA South Athletic Conference. The name change was made official on July 1, 2003 and the first USA South Athletic Conference championships were awarded in the fall of 2003.
The Conference was originally affiliated with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and remained with that affiliation until 1973. At that time the NCAA divided into three legislative and competitive divisions, with Division III allowing membership for nonathletic scholarship institutions only. The Dixie joined the NCAA, and in so doing, became one of the first conferences accepted into Division III. Since the inception of Division III, the USA South has been a leader in many areas, and has gained an outstanding regional and national reputation in a number of sports.
The USA South sponsored athletic programs for men only until 1981. In that year, the NCAA expanded its sponsorship to include women’s sports, and the Dixie followed that lead by including women’s sports. The Conference now sponsors championships in men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s golf and women’s lacrosse for a total of 14 sports.
The League not only recognizes the participants for outstanding athletic achievements each year, but academic excellence as well. Student athletes who maintain academic averages of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale in both academic semesters are named to the Academic All-Conference team. This group annually averages well over 1,450 students.
Each year, the President’s Cup is awarded to the school that accumulates the most points throughout the academic year in sports that are sponsored by the USA South. In 2004-05, the President’s Cup was changed to have one winner for men’s sports and one winner for women’s. In 2005-06, the Conference began awarding a men’s, a women’s and an overall President’s Cup.
Presently, the Conference features 16 institutions, six in North Carolina, five in Georgia, three in Virginia, one in Alabama and one in Tennessee. The USA South will welcome three new members in 2017-18 as Berea College, Brevard College and Pfeiffer University bring the total membership to 19 institutions.
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Tom Hart is currently in his first year as the Commissioner of the USA South Athletic Conference. Hart was most recently the Interim Athletic Director of NCAA Division II-member Bluefield State College in Bluefield, West Virginia. He brings 24 years as a Division III Athletic Director and coach to the Commissioner position. During his time at Bluefield State, Dr. Hart oversaw an upgrade to the athletics website, improvements to the baseball and softball facilities as well as the Athletics Hall of Fame transitioning to Athletic Department guidance. Prior to Bluefield State, Dr. Hart spent two years at Berry College in Rome, Georgia where he assisted the Vikings into Division III membership and was engaged with several new program initiatives including the Berry Athletics Booster Club, the first two years of the football program and preparing to add a full track and field program. Before his time at Berry, Dr. Hart spent 21 years at Webster University, an NCAA Division III institution in St. Louis. He served as Athletic Director for 19 years while also coaching men's basketball and men's golf. As a coach, Dr. Hart is one of only six individuals ever named SLIAC Coach of the Year in two separate sports (golf and basketball). Under his direction, Webster athletics moved from a department with 72 student athletes and eight sports to one with 220 student athletes and 16 sports. Student athletes at Webster also graduated at a rate 10% above the student body during Dr. Hart's tenure. Additionally, Dr. Hart twice served as President of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and chaired the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Committee. A native of Utica, New York, Dr. Hart graduated from Niagara University in 1983 with a Bachelor's degree in physical education. Dr. Hart later earned his Master's degree in Psychology from United States International University in 1985. In 2013, Dr. Hart earned his Doctorate in Management from Webster University where his dissertation focused on factors of persistence for NCAA Division III student athletes.
Mike Christie is currently in his 11th year with the USA South Athletic Conference after joining as the Sports Information Director in July of 2006. In January of 2008, Christie's title was changed to Assistant Commissioner. In December of 2013, Christie's title was changed again, this time to Associate Commissioner. He was the Assistant Sports Information Director at Rhode Island College in Providence, R.I. and also served as the Director of Communications of the Little East Conference the previous two years. The year prior to becoming the Assistant Sports Information Director at Rhode Island College, he served a year-long internship in the institution's media relations department. Prior to Rhode Island College, he completed another year-long internship in the athletic media relations department at Providence College. A native of Ocala, Fla., Christie graduated from the University of Florida in December 2002 with a bachelor's degree in exercise and sports sciences with a focus in sports management and a minor in business administration.
Kara Stevenson is currently in her first year with the USA South Athletic Conference. Stevenson comes to the USA South after two seasons with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the NBA Development League affiliate of the Indiana Pacers, where she served as Director of Communications and Community Relations. Before taking over as the communications head position for the Mad Ants, Stevenson graduated from NCAA Division III-member Manchester University with her Bachelor's degree in Sport Management with a concentration in Communication Studies. While at Manchester she worked in the Sports Information Office in addition to playing tennis for the Spartans and fulfilled an internship with Championships Department at the NCAA National Office in Indianapolis.
Member School Administrations
|President||Faculty Athletic Rep.||Athletic Director||Senior Woman Admin.|
|Agnes Scott||Dr. Elizabeth Kiss||Madeline Zavodny||Beth Vansant||Beth Vansant|
|Averett||Dr. Tiffany Franks||Richard Breen||Meg Stevens||Liz Hickey|
|Covenant||Dr. J. Derek Halvorson||Dr. Chris Robinson||Tim Sceggel||Joanna Ehman|
|Ferrum||Dr. Joseph Spooner||Dr. Taiwo Ajani||Abe Naff||Karen Harvey|
|Greensboro||Dr. Lawrence Czarda||Dr. Victor Archibong||Bryan Galuski||Jena Cabe|
|Huntingdon||Dr. J. Cameron West**||Dr. Lisa Clark||Mike Turk||Latonia Brady|
|LaGrange||Dr. Dan McAlexander||Dr. Joe Cafaro||Jennifer Claybrook||Jennifer Claybrook|
|Mary Baldwin||Dr. Pamela Fox||Dr. Mary Clay Thomas||Lynda Alanko||Christy Shelton|
|Maryville||Dr. Tom Bogart||Dr. Scott Steele||Kandis Schram||Sharon Wood|
|Meredith||Dr. Jo Allen||Stephanie Little||Jackie Myers||Wendy Jones|
|Methodist||Dr. Ben Hancock||Dr. Kyrstin Krist||Bob McEvoy*||DeeDee Jarman|
|N.C. Wesleyan||Dr. Dewey Clark||Dr. Carl Lewis||John Thompson||Carol Carson|
|Piedmont||Dr. James Mellichamp||Dr. Debra Dooley||Jim Peeples||Jamie Purdy|
|Salem||Dr. Lorrainie Sterritt||Dr. Laura Watts||Melissa Barrett||Betsy Pryor|
|Wesleyan||Dr. Ruth Knox||Dr. Virginia Wilcox||Patty Gibbs||Patty Gibbs
|William Peace||Dr. Brian C. Ralph||Dr. Carolyn Nye||Phil Rowe||Alethea Byrd|
**Chair of President's Council