GCAC Will Add Four HBCU Baseball Programs in 2023

The Gulf Athletic Conference (GCAC) has finalized plans to expand baseball participation.  Two existing conference members, Philander Smith College and Dillard University will be adding baseball as a varsity sport, while new conference member Oakwood University is resurrecting baseball and a second new member, Wiley College will bring an existing baseball program to the GCAC.

Former Gulf Coast Athletic Conference baseball playing members Edward Waters University and Talladega College have departed from the conference.

The GCAC Board Presidents and Chancellors entered this process with the singular focus to strengthen and stabilize a baseball playing conference. The conference looks forward to having Oakwood University, and Wiley College under the GCAC banner, both athletically and academically.

The conference actions were in accordance with a GCAC Bylaw requiring an affirmative vote of a supermajority of directors and was approved unanimously by the members.

The addition of these two fine institutions ensures the continued success of the GCAC at the highest levels of intercollegiate athletics competition.

Founded in 1981, the GCAC is a NAIA collegiate athletic conference comprised of six baseball member institutions located across six states (Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas). In 2010, the GCAC became the only conference in the NAIA to be entirely composed of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

In its more than 30 years of existence, the GCAC has proven itself both on the field and in the classroom; producing hundreds of athletic and academic All-America honorees.

The GCAC is headquartered in New Orleans. Dillard University Athletic Director, Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes, currently serves as the conference’s Interim Commissioner.

The Dillard University Athletics Department announced this past February, the addition of a baseball program and the hiring of Trennis Grant as the new head baseball coach. The Dillard baseball program is scheduled to begin playing games in the spring of 2023.

Oakwood University from Huntsville, Alabama will bring baseball for the 2023 season. The head coach for Oakwood is Richard Hodnett.

Philander Smith College is adding baseball to its athletic department. Sources have stated a new head coach will be finalized this week.

Wiley College concluded the 2022 season wrapping its time in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC). The Wildcats will begin competing in the GCAC in 2023. They were a founding member of the RRAC in 1998 which had three other HBCUs, Huston–Tillotson University, Jarvis Christian University, and Texas College.

By expanding the baseball programs into the GCAC conference, the new members guarantee HBCUs will have at lease one representative with an automatic bid to the NAIA National Tournament.

Edward Waters, HBCU Baseball Black College World Series national champions concluded its time in the GCAC at the end of the 2022 season is now a NCAA Division II member competing in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC). Talladega joined the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) in 2022.

Talladega baseball has had recent success at the national level, with baseball national tournament bids in four NAIA National Opening Round tournaments (2014, 2017, 2018, and 2019) and four Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) championships.

Edward Waters, Talladega, and Tougaloo, NAIA independent schools were four-year institutional members of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (A.I.I.) that did not have formal conference affiliations and was known as (GCAC/A.I.I.) 2015 and 2016 was their first year in the A.I.I.

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