Coastal Carolina’s stunning run to the College World Series final series has captured the attention of the sports world. Here’s what you need to know about CCU.
1. Coastal Carolina University is Located in Conway, South Carolina
Conway is a town of around 16,000 just a few miles south of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The seat of Horry County, Conway is near the northeastern-most part of the state. Though Conway doesn’t have a traditional “College Town Feel”, the school promotes it’s proximity to both charming, small southern towns and the entertainment and hospitality opportunities of the nearby Myrtle Beach Grand Strand. Also, the school is literally feet from the Atlantic Ocean and near some of the top golf courses in the country.
2. Established in 1954, the School Become an Independent Institution in 1993
CCU traces its roots to 1954, when it opened as Coastal Carolina Junior College and originally was part of the College of Charleston. It transitioned into becoming a local community college for Horry County students before becoming part of the University of South Carolina system in 1960. Renamed the University of South Carolina Coastal Carolina Regional Campus and later the Carolina College of the University of South Carolina, the school grew in the years following. With enrollment at over 4,000 students by 1991, Conway-area education leaders wanted to see the school become independent. They received their wish and by 1993, Coastal Carolina University, as we now know it, was born.
More than 20 years later, the school’s enrollment has increased to 10,263 students. Nearly half of CCU’s students are out of state, coming from 46 states and 58 different countries.
3. The School’s Mascot is a ‘Chanticleer’, a Reference to Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’
Though an increasing number of people are becoming familiar with Coastal Carolina University, many more are still left wondering about its mascot, the Chanticleer. It’s the No. 1 most asked question for the athletic department with No. 2 being “how do you pronounce your nickname?” The Chanticleer, pronounced “SHON-ti-clear” is a reference to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, a classic work of English literature. In one of the tales, the Chanticleer is a fierce rooster that rules its barnyard.
Before becoming the Chanticleers, CCU was nicknamed the Trojans. In the 1960’s a group of English students and their professor wanted a mascot more closely tied to the University of South Carolina, of which the school was then a part of. A Chanticleer resembles the USC mascot, a gamecock, and soon enough CCU had its own nickname for it’s sports teams.
4. Coastal Carolina is Looking for its First Championship in Any Sport
The upstart baseball team has the Chants on the verge of their first national championship in school history. That doesn’t mean CCU has been slouches in athletics.
In a relatively short athletic history, the Chanticleers have become conference champions in many sports. Baseball has lead the way, even before this season’s run, with 14 conference championships and No. 1 regional seeds in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2010. Formed in 2003, the football team won seven Big South championships. The men’s basketball team won back-to-back Big South Tournament championships in 2014 and 2015 and subsequently appeared in the NCAA Championship Tournament. The school achieved the same feat in 1991 and 1993.
In total, the school has won 105 conference championships across 17 varsity sports. In large part because of it’s athletic success all sports except football will leave the Big South to move up to the more competitive Sunbelt Conference for the 2016 season. Football will make the jump to the Sun Belt, and the FBS level, in 2017.
5. CCU Has Many Famous Alumni Ranging From Sports to Entertainment
Not surprisingly, CCU has produced many famous alumni in athletics. Fresh off his 2016 U.S. Open win, PGA golfer Dustin Johnson is arguably Coastal Carolina’s most famous alumnus. Perhaps most notable among team sports is the Washington Redskins All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman. He’s joined in the NFL with fellow football alum including Jerome Simpson, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Quinton Teal and Mike Tolbert. In baseball, Tommy La Stella is seeing success with the Chicago Cubs (and still showing his school pride).
Several CCU alumni have also gone on to success in entertainment and media. Michael Kelly has become well known for his role as nefarious Chief of Staff Doug Stamper in House of Cards. Actress Bailey Hanks, actor Kevin Kane, singer Edwin McCain and entrepreneur Chad Mureta also call CCU their alma mater.