Southwest Baptist Bearcats

The Southwest Baptist University Bearcats are the sports teams of Southwest Baptist University located in Bolivar, Missouri. They participate in the NCAA's Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC). The Bearcats had competed in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) since 1986. In 2014, the Bearcats as well as the Lincoln Blue Tigers began competing in the GLVC as a football member-only team.[1]

Southwest Baptist Bearcats
UniversitySouthwest Baptist University
NCAADivision II
Athletic directorMike Pitts
LocationBolivar, Missouri
Varsity teams18
Football stadiumPlaster Stadium
Basketball arenaJane and Ken Meyer Sports and Wellness Center
ColorsPurple and White

In fall 2016, Southwest Baptist University became one of the first 15 colleges and universities in the nation to offer esports as a varsity athletics program, with scholarships available. SBU is a charter member of the Collegiate Esports Association (CESPA).[2]

On May 31, 2018, Southwest Baptist announced it would be withdrawing its membership from the MIAA to join the Great Lakes Valley Conference full-time, effective July 1, 2019.[3]

SBU began a varsity Cheer and Stunt team beginning in the 2018–19 season.[4]

Sports sponsored

Men's sports Women's sports
Basketball Cheer and Stunt
Cross countryCross country
TennisTrack and field
Track and fieldVolleyball
† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor


The Bearcats football team is currently coached by Robert Clardy. Clardy is the 9th head football coach in Southwest Baptist University history. Clardy graduated from SBU in 2008. During his time at SBU, he played quarterback from the SBU Bearcats football team. After graduation, Clardy became the Quarterbacks coach from 2008 to 2010, was promoted to Offensive Coordinator/Quarterback Coach from 2011 to 2012, and was promoted to Assistant Head Coach / Wide Receivers Coach in 2013. He became Head Coach in 2015. The SBU Bearcats football team earned a NCAA National Playoff appearance in 2016 after winning the conference title. The team finished 22nd in the final NCAA Division II AFCA poll.[5]

Men's basketball

The Bearcats men's basketball team is currently under the direction of Clark Sheehy. Sheehy took over in 2014. He was previously coach at John Brown University in Arkansas.


The Bearcats softball team appeared in one Women's College World Series in 1971.[6]

Athletic facilities

  • Plaster Stadium, is the home of the SBU Bearcat football team. The stadium was completed in 1985 and named in respect to Robert W. Plaster for his significant contribution towards the facility. Plaster is a businessman from Lebanon, Missouri. Some renovations include the field being re-turfed in 1988 and lights being installed in 1998.[7]
  • Robert W. Plaster Athletic Center, holds the football coaching staff offices, athletic meeting rooms, athletic training room, banquet room, weight room, and football locker room. Also, the athletic center provides an outside balcony for guest to watch a SBU football game. The facility was completed in 2001 from the major contribution of Robert W. Plaster.[7][8]
  • Jane and Ken Meyer Sports and Wellness Center, is home of the Bearcat men's basketball, women's basketball, and volleyball teams. The facility was built in 2004. The Sports Arena holds seating for 2,800 fans. The court is named in honor of Springfield, Mo businessman John Q. Hammons. The center houses Intramural Basketball and Volleyball Courts, Natatorium, Fitness Room, Weight Room, Indoor Walking or Jogging Track, Racquetball Courts, Rock Climbing Wall, Sports Café, Aerobic Room, Health and Physical Education Classrooms, Faculty and Athletic Offices, Athletic Training Room, and Citizen's Memorial Hospital Sports Medicine Clinic. Jane and Ken Meyer were the major contributors towards Sports and Wellness Center Project. The Natatorium is used for swimming classes, aquatic exercises, scuba classes, and for recreational use by SBU students, faculty, and staff. The Natatorium was funded by student activity fees and built in 1985. The Olympic size pool holds six lanes and has a one-meter diving board.[8][9]
  • John A. Bryant Tennis Center, is where the SBU men's and women's tennis teams compete. The Center was completed in 2000 and is composed of six side by side courts. Since the new facility opened SBU has hosted three NCAA Tournaments. Also, the courts are open to SBU students, faculty, staff, and the Bolivar community. The Center is named in admiration for John A. Bryant's long time service to SBU Tennis program.[7][8]
  • Dodson Field, is home of the Bearcat baseball team. The field was renovated in 2005 with new dugouts, new netting behind home plate, and concrete walls between the dugouts. Dodson field provides large dugouts, a grass infield, and Major League field dimensions. The field is named after James W. Dodson.[7][8]
  • SBU Softball Field, is where the SBU softball team play their home games. The field received some renovations in 2005 to improve the playing surface.[7]
  • SBU Soccer Field, is where the Men's and Women's soccer team hosts their opponents. The field is adjacent to Dodson Field and the SBU softball field. In 2003, overhangs for the benches were built on the south side of the field and a new scoreboard was constructed.[7]


  1. "Great Lakes Valley Conference".
  2. "SBU Launches Varsity eSports Program for Fall 2016". Southwest Baptist University. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  3. "Southwest Baptist joining GLVC". Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  4. "Southwest Baptist University Adding STUNT As a Sport in 2018–19". Southwest Baptist University. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  5. "Southwest Baptist University Athletics – Robert Clardy – 2018 Football Coaching Staff – Southwest Baptist University". Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  6. Plummer, William; Floyd, Larry C. (2013). A Series Of Their Own: History Of The Women's College World Series. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States: Turnkey Communications Inc. ISBN 978-0-9893007-0-4.
  7. Southwest Baptist University, (1994–2007). Southwest baptist university athletics. Retrieved January 6, 2008, from Facilities
  8. Southwest Baptist University, (2007–2008). Campus buildings and facilities. Southwest Baptist University Catalog, 92(3), 7–8.
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