Gardner–Webb Runnin' Bulldogs

The Gardner–Webb Runnin' Bulldogs are the athletic teams that represent Gardner–Webb University, located in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. Gardner–Webb participates in 21 varsity sports at the NCAA Division I level. The school's programs are a part of the Big South Conference.

Gardner–Webb Runnin' Bulldogs
UniversityGardner–Webb University
ConferenceBig South Conference
NCAADivision I FCS
Athletic directorChuck Burch
LocationBoiling Springs, North Carolina
Varsity teams23
Football stadiumErnest W. Spangler Stadium
Basketball arenaPaul Porter Arena
Baseball stadiumJohn Henry Moss Stadium
Soccer stadiumGreene–Harbison Stadium
MascotMac the Bulldog
NicknameRunnin' Bulldogs
ColorsRed and Black[1]

Gardner–Webb has also produced many notable athletes and coaches, including: Artis Gilmore, Gerry Vaillancourt, John Drew, Eddie Lee Wilkins, Jim Washburn, Blake Lalli, Jim Maxwell, Gabe Wilkins, Cara Saunders, and Brian Johnston.


A member of the Big South Conference, Gardner-Webb sponsors teams in eleven men's and eleven women's NCAA sanctioned sports:[2]

Men's Intercollegiate Sports Team Article Head Coach Women's Intercollegiate Sports Team Article Head Coach
Baseball Jim Chester Basketball Team article Alex Simmons
Basketball Team article Tim Craft Cross Country Brian Baker
Cross Country Brian Baker Golf Tee Burton
Football Team article Carroll McCray Lacrosse Jessie Agugila
Golf Tee Burton Soccer Mike Varga
Soccer Tony Setzer Softball Tom Cole
Swimming & Diving [v 1] Scott Teeters Swimming & Diving [v 1] Scott Teeters
Tennis Mike Griffith Tennis Jim Corn
Track & Field (Indoor & Outdoor) Brian Baker Track & Field (Indoor & Outdoor) Brian Baker
Wrestling [v 2] Team article Daniel Elliott Volleyball Leo Sayles
  1. The men's and women's swimming teams compete as members of the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association.
  2. The wrestling team competes as an Associate member of the Southern Conference.


Head Coach: Rusty Stroupe was the coach of the Runnin' Bulldogs for 17 years. He graduated from Appalachian State University in 1986. Stroupe accumulated over 800 wins as a college coach and is the all-time winningest baseball coach in Gardner–Webb history. Stroupe was awarded the prestigious Jerry Kindall Character in Coaching Award for 2012 by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He received the award at the FCA Breakfast at the ABCA Convention in January, 2013.

Notable players to come from the Diamond Dawgs

Men's basketball

Head Coach: Tim Craft

Assistant Coaches: Jeremy Luther, Paul Hemrick, and DeAntoine Beasley

The Gardner–Webb men's basketball team has had notable success against some of the best teams in college basketball. Gardner-Webb has been featured on ESPN because of their games against teams such as Duke, UNC, Virginia Tech, and Oklahoma. They defeated Kentucky in their 2007–2008 campaign in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, considered by many, one of the greatest regular season upsets ever, and gaining them recognition from Dick Vitale.

In their 2014–2015 season, the Runnin' Bulldogs set history, beating both Clemson and Purdue on their way to a 20 win season. Their 12-2 home record was the best in the state of North Carolina, beating out perennial powerhouses Duke, NC State, and UNC.

2019 was one of the most successful seasons in school history where the team boasted an undefeated 13-0 home record as well as a 23-11 overall record that included wins against Georgia Tech and Wake Forest. Gardner-Webb topped off the season by winning the Big South Tournament and earning its first Division I tournament berth.

Women's basketball

Head coach: Alex Simmons

Assistant Coaches: Garner Small, Chynna Turner, and Danielle Bell

Rick Reeves served as head coach for nine seasons. During this time he turned the program around from only five wins in the year previous to his arrival to two championship appearances in the Big South Tournament including their first year in the Big South Conference. Reeves, who had previously coached at Liberty and Southern Mississippi, faced Liberty in the championship losing by one point to the defending champions in 2008–2009 and losing by two in 2009–2010 before finally defeating them by one in 2010–2011, earning a bid to the NCAA tournament. The program also had their first ever winning season since moving to Division I, finishing 17–15 in 2008–2009. Gardner–Webb was also able to post a nine-game home winning streak in 2008–2009.[3]

In 2009–2010, the program set school records in wins (28) and also tied a Big South Conference Record in wins. The team won its first conference title in the 35-year history of the program and made its first postseason appearance ever in the WNIT.[4] The team also picked up a huge non-conference win at Purdue in 2009–2010.[5]

Reeves coached with both his daughters at Gardner–Webb, Kim Clark and Krystal Reeves-Evans before the start of the 2010–2011 season, when Clark left to be an assistant at Middle Tennessee State.

Reeves left the program at the end of the 2017-2018 season and was replaced by Alex Simmons, an assistant coach from Ole Miss.

Cross country and track and field

Head Coach: Brian Baker

Assistant Coaches: Robert Golabek, Evan Brusich

The Track and Field team won the A-Sun conference championship in their 2005–2006 season.


Head Coach: Carroll McCray

Assistant Coaches: Kenny Ray (Assistant Head Coach/OL), Brett Nichols (OC/QB), Chris Grimes (Co-DC/Secondary), Dennis Thomas (Co-DC/DL), Taylor Anderson (ILB), Marco Butler (OLB), Arketa Banks (RB/TE), Bennett Houston (WR)


Head Coach: Tee Burton

Assistant Coach:

Women's Lacrosse

Head Coach: Jessie Aguglia

Assistant Coach: Racquel Prager, and Riley Hill

Men's soccer

Head Coach: Tony Setzer

Assistant Coaches: Tyler Kettering

Women's soccer

Head Coach: Mike Varga

Assistant Coaches: Samantha Huecker

In the fall of 2006, the Gardner–Webb soccer team won its conference and made it to the NCAA second round.

In 2001 the Runnin' Bulldogs were the National Christian College Athletic Association Champions, following that tournament Mounce was named NCCAA National Women's Soccer Coach of the Year. In 2002 the Runnin' Bulldogs became a Division I program participating in the Atlantic Sun Conference. At the conclusion of their season, the team was ranked second in the nation for first-year division I programs by Soccer Buzz. In 2003 the Runnin' Bulldogs saw their first ever appearance in the Atlantic Sun Championship, finishing 5th in the league. For this accomplishment, former head coach Kevin Mounce was named A-Sun coach of the year. In 2004, GWU had a forward, Leeanna Woodworth who led the nation in scoring. She became A-Sun player of the year and broke many school records. In 2008 the team transferred to the Big South Conference. In their first year competing in the Big South they finished 4-12-2.[6]


Head Coach: Tom Cole

Assistant Coaches: Angel Bunner


Head Coach: Scott Teeters

Assistant Coaches: Drew Ellwanger

Gardner–Webb's swimming team competes in the CCSA since the Big South does not sponsor swimming.

The Men's Swim Team placed second at the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association conference meet. Placing first was Davidson, second place went to Gardner–Webb, and in third was College of Charleston.

The Women's Team Placed Third overall, after Florida Gulf Coast and Davidson respectively, and earned six NCAA "B" cuts. The Women earned these NCAA qualifying standards in the 100 and 200 Breaststroke, 50 Free, 100 Backstroke, and the 200 and 400 Medley Relays.

In 2016, Nathan Lile became the first men's swimmer in program history to qualify for the NCAA Men's Division I Swimming and Diving Championships, earning a spot in the 50 Free and 100 Free.

Program history was made again in the summer of 2016. Gardner-Webb men, Nathan Lile and Connor Bos, made history by being the first GWU male swimmers to make the United States Olympic Time Trials in Omaha, NE. Both Connor and Nathan qualified in the 100M Backstroke, as Nathan also had qualifying cuts in the 50M Freestyle and 100M Butterfly.

The Gardner Webb Men's Swim Team took home a runner-up trophy at the 2017 CCSA Conference meet. The Women's Swim Team placed third at the 2017 CCSA conference meet, narrowly missing the runner-up finish.


Head Coaches: Mike Griffith (M) and Jim Corn (W)


Head Coach: Leo Sayles

Assistant Coaches:


Head Coach: Daniel Elliott

Assistant Coaches: Cody Walters, Brendan Couture, Mack McGuire

Gardner–Webb's wrestling team competes in the Southern Conference since the Big South is a non-wrestling Conference.


  1. "GARDNER-WEBB ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS". May 25, 2017. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  2. "Gardner–Webb Runnin' Bulldogs". Gardner-Webb University. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved July 17, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved March 27, 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved March 27, 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved March 24, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  1. "Baseball." Gardner–Webb,2009.Web. 24 March 2009.
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