Bryant Bulldogs

The Bryant Bulldogs are the athletic teams representing Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island. The Bulldogs compete at the Division I level as a member of the Northeast Conference.[2] Bryant's largest rivalry during its Division II years was Bentley College, both founders of the Northeast-10 and both have prominent business programs. Bryant University athletics started out as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) before it transitioned into Division II. Bryant competed in the Northeast-10 Conference from the conference's founding in 1980 until 2008 when the university began the transition to Division I.[3] In 2012, Bryant became a full Division I member.

Bryant Bulldogs
UniversityBryant University
ConferenceNEC
NCAADivision I
Athletic directorBill Smith
LocationSmithfield, Rhode Island
Varsity teams22
Football stadiumBulldog Stadium
Basketball arenaChace Athletic Center
Baseball stadiumConaty Park
MascotTupper
NicknameBulldogs
ColorsBlack and Gold[1]
         
Websitebryantbulldogs.com

History

The beginning: The Providence years

Bryant University originally competed independently before the NCAA had classifications. The first teams were men's basketball and rowing, which started in 1896. The first women's team was women's basketball. When the NCAA began more strict classifications Bryant moved to the NAIA in 1963. During Bryant's tenure in the NAIA, it competed as an independent school. The university's tenure in the NAIA saw the men's basketball team record an undefeated regular season, going 22-0 before losing the final two games of the 1966-67 season in the District 32 Tournament.[4] The 22-2 overall record was the team's best during the NAIA years.[4] The move to Division II was partly because of the new campus, and the school's goals.

During their NAIA playing years, they were known as the Indians, and were located in Providence, Rhode Island, near Brown University. The school's largest rivalry at the time was Salem State College. The school was still a small business school, who was still only known on a local level. In 1976 the college left the NAIA In 1977 the college exited the NAIA and became a member of the NCAA at the Division II level. From there they became a charter member of the Northeast-10 Conference when the conference formed in 1979 and began play in 1980.[3]

The Charter Years: Move to Division II

In 1980 Bryant was one of the charter members of the Northeast-10.[3] Bryant along with other New England schools helped create a Division II conference that could succeed on and off the playing field and create rivalries at the same time. With the conference affiliation Bryant was able to keep its closest current day rival Bentley College Falcons close both academically and athletically.

The university used the Indians nickname and logos since the inception of the athletics program in 1896 until 1995.[5]

Entering the 2000s (decade) the university has won 40 conference championships; and the President's Cup 4 times in 2004, 2005, and 2007 and in their last season as a Division II member in 2008. They lost in 2006 by 1 point to Stonehill College. In their last year of competition in Division II and in the Northeast-10, Bryant won the President's Cup by over 30 points, and sent 19 out of the 22 teams into the NCAA playoffs. They also amassed a record of 292-65-6 throughout the entire year.

The 2000s (decade) also saw the injection of many new coaches at the university. Before the move to Division I they had signed four former Division I coaches from Duke University,[6] Iowa State University, Wagner College, and UNLV. These moves have been noted as being one of the reasons that Bryant athletics have had such a successful run. This run has also brought on the exploratory commission to explore the move to Division I.

Move to Division I

On October 18, 2007 Bryant announced it would join the Northeast Conference.[7] The move had Bryant participating as a Division I institution starting in 2008.[8] The NCAA voted in 2012 to make the university a full member, which would allow Bryant to be eligible for NCAA Division I member postseason tournament play as well as have voting rights for its conference.[9]

Sports

A member of the Northeast Conference, Bryant University sponsors teams in eleven men's and eleven women's NCAA sanctioned sports:[10]

Men's sports Women's sports
BaseballBasketball
BasketballCross country
Cross countryField hockey
FootballLacrosse
GolfSoccer
LacrosseSoftball
SoccerSwimming & diving
Swimming & divingTennis
TennisTrack & field
Track & fieldVolleyball
† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor.

Facilities

Bulldog Stadium

Bulldog Stadium was completed in 1999 and has a seating capacity of 5,500 with a 4,200-seat permanent structure and press box on the home side of the field and 1,300 additional seats on the visitor's side.[11] In addition to serving as the home of Bryant Football, Bulldog Stadium also serves as the home venue to the school's men's and women's lacrosse and men's and women's soccer teams. It has also been the host of Rhode Island's high school state championship games.[11]

Conaty Park

Conaty Park, the home of Bryant's baseball program, is located in the northwest section of the campus near the other athletic facilities. The field has dimensions 330' down the left and right field lines, 385' to the right and left center field gaps and 400' to center field.[12] It is equipped with step down dug outs, each with a connected clubhouse space. It also has bullpens down each line with two mounds and a hitting cage down the left field line just outside of the fence next to the bullpen.[12] In addition to hosting several Northeast-10 Conference tournament games, the Bryant Baseball Complex hosted the 2004 NCAA Division II Baseball Northeast Regional Championship, won by the Bulldogs.[12]

Other facilities

The Chace Wellness Center is a 31,000-square-foot (2,900 m2) student recreation center that augments the current gymnasium and Multipurpose Activity Center (MAC). The center includes workout space, a 8,000-square-foot (740 m2) fitness center, and an aerobic and martial arts studio.[13] The Elizabeth & Malcolm Natatorium is an olympic-size pool originally constructed with the additions to the current Wellness and Athletic Center.[14] The pool had only recreational use until the winter of 2005 when Bryant added men's and women's swim teams as a varsity sport. The natatorium features six lanes equipped with a scoreboard, seating area, and sound system.[14]

The Bryant Track and Turf Complex was built in 2005 and is the home venue for the men's and women's track & field teams.[15] The facility also hosts soccer, field hockey and lacrosse games in addition to being used as the football practice field.[15] The facility has a bleacher seating section with a capacity of 1,000 fans. Another valuable addition was the lights surrounding the track.[15]

Championships

Northeast Conference

Conference championships:

  • Baseball: 2013, 2014, 2016
  • Lacrosse (men's): 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017
  • Golf: 2014, 2017
  • Lacrosse (women's): 2014, 2017
  • Softball: 2014
  • Tennis (men's): 2014, 2017

Northeast-10 history

While competing as a charter member of the Northeast-10 conference from 1980 until 2008 the school won the President's Cup, awarded to the best overall athletic team in the NE-10, eight times. Bryant also finished in second five times and third three times.[16] Considered to be one of the most successful teams in Northeast-10 History Bryant has won 93 conference championships. In the 2007-2008 school year, the university won 9 conference championships. During its Division II years, the university sponsored 22 of 23 sports that the Northeast-10 Conference offered.

Sport Conference Championships Last Championship
Golf 20 2005
Volleyball 10 2007
Tennis (w) 9 2008
Baseball 9 2012
Tennis (m) 6 2008
Lacrosse (m) 4 2012
Cross Country 4 1996
Softball 3 2006
Basketball (w) 3 1989
Field Hockey 2 2003
Football 2 2007
Soccer (w) 2 2007
Soccer (m) 1 1988
Lacrosse (w) 1 1999
Track and Field 1 1993
Basketball (m) 0 ----
Swimming & Diving 0 ----

Ultimate Frisbee

On May 20, 2018, Bryant won the 2018 Men's D-III Ultimate Frisbee Championships.[17]

Mascot

The Bulldog logo became the official new logo and mascot of the university after a 1995 campus-wide vote. The school now has a living mascot and a costumed mascot to represent the bulldogs mascot and university athletics. Bryant has also used two bulldog logos as they did during the Indian years; first using a realistic bulldog's head inside a diamond design, followed by the current design in 2004. The change came when Bryant went from being a college to a university.

Ironclad Tupper I, or Tupper for short, was an English bulldog purchased by Bryant University President Ron Machtley and his wife, Kati.[18] The Machtleys gave the dog to the school to honor the class of 2010's senior class gift campaign, which exceeded its goals and set two senior class gift records.[18] Tupper served as Bryant University's mascot and attended campus events, as well as performed community service as a therapy dog.[18] He was the first live bulldog mascot in the university's history and received an honorary degree at 2010 commencement for "character and obedience."[18] Tupper died on December 6, 2017 of an apparent stroke during the Festival of Lights celebration.[19][20]

References

  1. Bryant University Bulldogs Sports Information. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  2. "Multidivision, Reclassifying and Provisional Institutions for 2011-12" (PDF). NCAA. August 2011. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
  3. "The History of the Northeast-10 Conference". Northeast-10 Conference. Archived from the original on August 15, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
  4. "2006-07 BryantMen's Basketball Media Guide" (PDF). Bryant University. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  5. "Four-Year Schools - B". ColorWerx. Archived from the original on October 22, 2007. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
  6. Clemmons, Anna Katherine (March 12, 2010). "Pressler builds Bryant lacrosse". ESPN. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
  7. "Bryant University Accepts Invitation to Join Northeast Conference Northeast Conference - Bryant University Accepts Invitation to Join". Northeast Conference. October 18, 2007. Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
  8. AP Staff (October 19, 2007). "Bryant Will Move To Division I". The New York Times. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
  9. McNamara, Kevin (September 25, 2007). "Success has led Bryant to seek move to Div. I". The Providence Journal. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
  10. "Bryant Bulldogs.com". Bryant University. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  11. "Bulldog Stadium". Bryant University. Archived from the original on September 29, 2011. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
  12. "The Bryant University Baseball Complex". Bryant University. Archived from the original on January 29, 2012. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  13. "Chace Wellness Center". Bryant University. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
  14. "Chace Athletic Center Pool". Bryant University. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
  15. "Bryant Track and Turf Complex". Bryant University. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  16. "Northeast-10 Conference". Northeast-10 Conference. Retrieved November 28, 2011.
  17. "Bryant Wins 2018 Men's D-III Championships - College Championships". College Championships. 2018-05-20. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  18. "Bryant's mascot Ironclad Tupper 1, aka Tupper". Bryant University. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  19. Krause, Nancy (December 7, 2017). "Bryant University mourns loss of mascot, Ironclad Tupper". WPRI TV.
  20. "Bulldog Mascot Collapses, Dies During Campus Festival". US News Best States. US News & World Report. AP. December 7, 2017.

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