Peach Belt Conference
The Peach Belt Conference is a collegiate athletic conference affiliated with the National Collegiate Athletic Association 's Division II level. The twelve member institutions are located in the South Atlantic states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. In addition, there are five affiliate members who participate in one sport each; where their home conference does not sponsor that sport.
Since its inception in 1990-91, the Peach Belt has, across all sanctioned sports, produced 30 national champions and additional 27 national finalists. Starting with only two championships in 1991, in men's and women's basketball, the conference has expanded to 13 championship sports with the addition of women's golf in the fall of 2009.
HistoryThe conference traces its roots back to November 1988 when 11 schools first met in Greenville, S.C. to form a Division II conference. Following a second meeting on Dec. 3, 1989, five of those 11 schools, plus two others, formed the Peach Belt Athletic Conference and began play in the fall of 1990.
The seven charter members of the conference were Armstrong Atlantic State University, Columbus State University, Francis Marion University, Georgia College, Lander University, USC Aiken, and USC Upstate. The name Peach Belt Athletic Conference was adopted in January 1990 and modified to Peach Belt Conference in May 2000.
Augusta State University joined the conference in 1991 and UNC Pembroke became the ninth member on July 1, 1992. They were followed by Kennesaw State University on July 1, 1994, Clayton State University on July 1, 1995 and the University of North Florida on July 1, 1997. Kennesaw State and North Florida departed for the Division I ranks in 2005, USC Upstate did the same in 2007, and the conference welcomed in North Georgia College & State University in 2005 and Georgia Southwestern State University in 2006. In 2009-10, the University of Montevallo and Flagler College were added, returning a league presence to Florida and broke new ground in Alabama. In 2012-13, the Peach Belt expanded to 14 members, the most the league has ever had, with the addition of Young Harris College. On January 8, 2013, the University System of Georgia finalized the mergers of two conference members into new institutions. Augusta State was merged into Georgia Regents University, which was renamed in 2015 as Augusta University, and NGCSU was merged into the University of North Georgia. In both cases, the new institutions inherited the Peach Belt memberships of the older schools.
The Peach Belt was less than a year old before capturing its first of many national championships. The Columbus State golf team took the honor by winning the 1992 national crown, the first of three golf championships the Cougars own. One year later, the Lander men's tennis team began their record-breaking run of eight straight national titles, the first PBC dynasty. Since then, USCA men's golf has won three straight national titles from 2004-06 while AASU women's tennis has captured four titles overall.
The 2010-11 season was one of the most memorable the league has ever had. Clayton State became the first PBC women's basketball team to capture a national championship. Montevallo watched their men's basketball team reach the Elite Eight, eventually competing in the National Championship Game. Unfortunately, their run came to an end with a loss to Western Washington University. The Columbus State men's tennis team reached the national semifinals while the Clayton State and Armstrong Atlantic State women's tennis teams also played in the national semifinals. The North Georgia softball team made an unprecedented third straight appearance in the NCAA Women's College World Series, while Columbus State's Meshack Koyiaki registered a runner-up finish at the Men's Cross Country National Championships. In all, 46 Peach Belt teams made appearances in the NCAA postseason, including seven men's tennis teams and six each in the sports of men's golf and women's tennis.
David Brunk was named the second PBC commissioner in May 2007. Brunk replaced Marvin Vanover, who was the first PBC commissioner from 1991 to 2007. Brunk is charged with continuing the strong growth of the conference as its second era begins.
Dr. Kendall Blanchard, president of Georgia Southwestern State University, began the second of his two-year term as the league president in July 2011.
In April, 2020, Francis Marion University and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke announced that they are leaving the Peach Belt Conference effective 2021-22, and will both join Conference Carolinas.
The conference currently holds championships in 13 sports, six for men and seven for women. They are men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer, volleyball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's tennis, baseball, softball and men's and women's golf.
- Francis Marion and UNC Pembroke will depart the Peach Belt and become members of Conference Carolinas beginning in the 2021-2022 season.
Former affiliate members
DateFormat = yyyy
ImageSize = width:800 height:auto barincrement:20
Period = from:1990 till:2022
TimeAxis = orientation:horizontal
PlotArea = right:5 left:5 bottom:20 top:5
id:Full value:rgb # all sports
id:FullxF value:rgb # non-football
id:AssocF value:rgb # football-only
id:AssocOS value:rgb # associate
width:15 textcolor:darkblue shift: anchor:from fontsize:s
bar:1 color:FullxF from:1990 till:2017 text:Armstrong State
bar:2 color:FullxF from:1990 till:end text:Columbus State
bar:3 color:FullxF from:1990 till:2021 text:Francis Marion
bar:4 color:FullxF from:1990 till:end text:Georgia College
bar:5 color:FullxF from:1990 till:end text:Lander
bar:6 color:FullxF from:1990 till:end text:USC–Aiken
bar:7 color:FullxF from:1990 till:2007 text:USC–Upstate
bar:8 color:FullxF from:1991 till:end text:Augusta
bar:9 color:FullxF from:1992 till:2021 text:UNC–Pembroke
bar:10 color:FullxF from:1994 till:2005 text:Kennesaw State
bar:11 color:FullxF from:1995 till:end text:Clayton State
bar:12 color:FullxF from:1997 till:2005 text:North Florida
bar:13 color:FullxF from:2005 till:end text:North Georgia
bar:14 color:FullxF from:2006 till:end text:Georgia Southwestern State
bar:15 color:FullxF from:2009 till:end text:Flagler
bar:16 color:FullxF from:2009 till:2017 text:Montevallo
bar:17 color:FullxF from:2012 till:end text:Young Harris
bar:18 color:AssocOS from:2012 till:2016 text:Alabama–Huntsville
bar:19 color:AssocOS from:2012 till:end text:Nova Southeastern
bar:20 color:AssocOS from:2012 till:2016 text:Shorter
bar:21 color:AssocOS from:2014 till:end text:Florida Tech
bar:22 shift: color:AssocOS from:2017 till:end text:Embry–Riddle
ScaleMajor = gridcolor:line unit:year increment:5 start:1991
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