Emory University – Atlanta’s Hidden Sports Champions


Are there hidden nationally ranked sports teams in the Atlanta area? The other day I was listening to a sports radio station, and they were doing an interview with Emory University’s basketball coach Jason Zimmerman. I will admit to never having known that Emory even had a basketball team.  I was surprised to learn the team was a championship caliber Division lll team.

Glenn Chapel by public domain via wikimedia commons

Not only does Emory have a team that has gone to the Division lll NCAA National Tournament three times, but it advanced to the Round of Eight last year. At the time of this writing, the team is in the Sweet Sixteen of its national tournament.  All this is accomplished without the benefit of athletic scholarships.

Emory is a nationally renowned university known for its high standards of academics.  Emory College began life in Oxford, Georgia and moved to the Atlanta area in 1915 and was then chartered as Emory University. Oxford College of Emory University is now a two year residential college located on the original site of Emory College.

Emory’s current enrollment is less than 15,000 students and ranks as one of the schools with the lowest acceptance rates in the country. Only about 27% of applications are accepted. Students come from all 50 states and many foreign countries. It would seem that recruiting athletes of championship caliber would not be easy.

Yet Emory has a basketball team in the Sweet Sixteen. Its baseball team is ranked in the top ten of Division lll teams and the baseball team was ranked number 2 in Division lll in 2014. The women’s basketball team made the Sweet Sixteen in 2013. The men’s golf team was listed as number 4 in the nation in 2013. The women’s Swimming and Diving team were champions in 2014, while the men’s team finished third in the country. Emory also had a national championship in Women’s Tennis in 2014.

Emory Village by Keizers via Wikimedia commons

According to their website, the Emory Eagles compete in 18 different sports in the NCAA’s Division lll. They have had 17 national championship teams.

Emory is a member of the University Athletic Association and has won a total of 167 UAA team championships. Other teams in the league include Brandeis University, Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve University, New York University, University of Chicago, University of Rochester and Washington University. So Emory has a pretty hefty travel schedule for its games.

Over the years, I have often visited the Emory’s campus. I attended debate competitions there when I was in high school. I went to a Bob Dylan concert at Glen Memorial Chapel in 1964. I ate pizza at the old Everybody’s Pizza across from the campus and even went to a few movies at the old theater across the way. But I never realized the school has such a vibrant athletic program.

Perhaps in the future, I will think about Emory when I am looking for a basketball or baseball game to attend. Who knows? They may serve a great hotdog in their concession stands!

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